12 Things to Avoid Sharing on Social Media
How much should you share on social networks?
82% of people in the U.S. are on social media today. And while you may have a private or professional account, it’s still important to pay close attention to what you’re posting. Oversharing—or sharing the wrong content—can get you in trouble not only with loved ones, but also your employer.
This doesn’t have to be you. Here are 12 things you should absolutely keep off social media:
Your current location.
Think twice before you let the entire world know you’re spending the weekend at home by yourself, or that you’re camping on a remote trail for the week, or that you’re working in a public location during a specific window of time. Most of your followers won’t pay much attention, but the wrong people could use these details to their advantage. By sharing your location, your chances of falling victim to a break-in, a stalker, or worse increase significantly. Try to keep your current location private.
Details on an upcoming vacation.
We get it—it’s spring but the weather hasn’t gotten the memo, you’ve been going stir-crazy, and you’re eager to jet off to Florida, Arizona, Mexico, or any other warm destination you’ve had your eye on for the past six months. Avoid announcing your exact plans on social media, and definitely avoid sharing information like the name of the hotel or Airbnb you’re staying at, the amount of time you’ll be away, or the exact dates you’ve booked your trip. Another tip: Post photos from your vacation after you get home.
A private Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter account may feel like a safe place to complain about your boss or an irritating colleague. Proceed with caution, though, because this is generally a bad idea. (A reminder that if your accounts are public, then it’s definitely a bad idea.) Screenshots exist, and a seemingly innocuous vent session can be forwarded to the wrong person. This could ultimately cost you your job, or show future employers that you’re not such a great candidate after all.
You might be wondering who in their right mind would post financial details on social media. It’s pretty obvious that you shouldn’t go posting your credit card number or bank information on Facebook or Instagram, but some people end up sharing these details accidentally. So scour all the photos you’re thinking of posting for a card in the background, or a piece of paper or webpage you don’t want the world to see, and make sure you aren’t accidentally posting financial info criminals can use to commit fraud.
In the private sector, people get fired for making political posts all the time. Employers can’t discriminate against candidates for their political beliefs, but they can absolutely make hiring—or firing—decisions if those beliefs disrupt the work environment. Yes, the current climate is politically volatile, but that’s no reason to hit the “publish” button after writing a lengthy, incoherent rant that could cost you your career. Save those conversations for in-person social interactions (outside the workplace).
Want to show off that new car you just bought, or the house you closed on a few hours back? Think again. A seemingly innocuous house number in the background of a photo can give all your friends—and any strangers who happen upon your account—your exact address. And if you show off another expensive purchase, you may be indicating you’ve got valuables at home. The TL;DR is simple here: Few people enjoy a braggart, and also, you don’t want to get robbed.
Selfies in serious places.
You know those shocking selfies that went viral a few years ago? We’re talking about the selfies of people at Auschwitz, posing and smiling for the camera. Distasteful is a bit of an understatement here. Taking—and especially posting—selfies in serious or sacred places is not only disrespectful, but a great way to smear your own reputation, offend the public, and jeopardize your career. Keep those photos to a minimum, and instead honor the people the sacred location belongs to or recognizes.
Photos from a drunken night out.
If you’re of age and recently enjoyed a glass or two of wine, go ahead and post a single photo. On the other hand, if you’re inebriated, and you think posting drunken photos for all the world to see is a good idea, then you might need to reevaluate the situation (or wait until you sober up). Posting images where you’re clearly intoxicated doesn’t set a good precedent, and it certainly doesn’t make a great first impression to potential new employers. Save those photos for the group chat.
Insights into your daily routine.
Maybe you run in a specific park every day after work, or you do your grocery shopping at a specific time and place each week. Keep these details to yourself! By sharing your routine on social media, you’re making yourself—and your home—vulnerable to criminal activity. Pay close attention to what you’re revealing, because people prefer to target victims who are open about their habits. Don’t put yourself in that position. Do pay close attention to how much of your life you choose to share.
Other people’s announcements.
It’s wonderful that you’re happy for your newly-engaged friend, or the sibling who is finally expecting their first child after years of trying. And while it may feel good to be a part of this person’s inner circle, do not under any circumstances share their announcement before they have. Even after they’ve made the news public, be sure to get your loved one’s permission before celebrating (virtually) with them. Just think of how you’d feel if someone else went ahead and shared your big news.
Other people’s kids (without permission).
Posting photographs of other people’s kids is a bad idea. You might not know how these kids’ parents feel about social media, as some adults prefer to keep their children off the internet until they’re old enough to make their own decisions. Plus, posting other people’s—or even your own—kids can be risky business. You may inadvertently share information like names, schools, and other details that could put your little ones in danger. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a stranger to see!
The government will tell you that social media is not the place to post your vaccination card. You may be proud to have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19; you may want an easy place to store your card. We’ll repeat: Social media is not the place for this. Your card features personal info like your date of birth, along with the dates and place you got the jab. To reduce the risk of fraud, post a picture of your Band-Aid instead. Keep that vaccination card to yourself.
With these tips in your toolkit, you can protect yourself and others on social media. We hope you found these insights useful.
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