What does your online presence say about you?

Social Media Apps on Apple iPhone 5

Ever scrolled through your Facebook or twitter feed and cringed and some of things people post?

I’ll be honest, back when my friends and I started using facebook, we thought it was pretty hilarious to tag each other in unflattering photos while out for a girls night out on the town. Rarely did we give much thought about who else might see them, or any possible repercussions of our actions.

Call it getting older and wiser (and undoubtedly more vain), you quickly come to the realisation that how you present yourself online, is how people perceive you in real life, and being able to put your best foot forward applies to social networking as well.

I didn’t really want to mention it, but I will, because there is a lesson to learn for all of us (err, apart from the obvious hygiene one) in the recent actions of disgraced league player Todd Carney. He may not have posted the image online himself and some may argue it was just silly drunken behaviour, but it’s a very real example of how easy it is for images and content to be captured and shared virally across social networks. In this instance, the consequences for Carney being his club contract was torn up and his league playing career effectively over.

Social networking is part of our everyday lives.

Recent statistics show, that of all internet users in the U.S, 73% use social networking sites. By the end of 2014, it is estimated that there will be around 1.82 billion social networks users worldwide.

Social networking is how we interact with our friends. It’s how we do business. It’s how we share information, and sometimes, that can easily lead to sharing a little too much information (or ‘TMI’ if we’re using internet slang.)

Source: Statista 2014

Nowadays, in between reading, writing and maths, Primary School children are learning how to keep themselves safe online and become responsible ‘cyber citizens’.

So with that in mind, let us all head into the weekend and reflect on our online/social media behaviour and remind ourselves about things we probably shouldn’t be sharing on social networks, whether it’s ‘TMI’ posts, or little bits of personal information that we give away online without even thinking.

Below is some great advice from staysafeonline.org that can help keep your personal information safe and have everyone practicing good social media etiquette…


Follow these tips to safely enjoy social networking:

Privacy and security settings exist for a reason: Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way.

Once posted, always posted: Protect your reputation on social networks. What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see. Recent research found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.

Your online reputation can be a good thing:  Recent research also found that recruiters respond to a strong, positive personal brand online. So show your smarts, thoughtfulness, and mastery of the environment.

Keep personal info personal: Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes such as stalking.


Know and manage your friends: Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages. If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a “fan” page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know trust) more synched up with your daily life.

Be honest if you’re uncomfortable: If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let them know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them respect those differences.

Know what action to take: If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove them from your friends list, block them, and report them to the site administrator.

Own your online presence: When applicable, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how you share information.

Post only about others as you have them post about you.

– See more at staysafeonline.org

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