It’s easy to get caught up in the social aspects of sites like Facebook, but what you choose to share is there for all to see if you don’t limit who can view your information. Sharing personal information with strangers can be dangerous business, and there are some things you should definitely put on your “do not share” list. We’ll go over 10 of those items in this article.
1. Your Home Address
Unless your profile is on complete lock-down and no one but you can see it, then you should never put your home address on your profile. You’d think this was common sense, but people using different “check-in” services while at their house put their lives at risk.
2. Your long and short trips away from home
There may be a better way to say “Rob me, please” than posting something along the lines of: “Count-down to Maui! Two days and Ritz Carlton, here we come!” on Twitter. But it’s hard to think of one. Post the photos on Facebook when you return, if you like. But don’t invite criminals in by telling them specifically when you’ll be gone.
3. Naked or revealing pics of yourself
Posting embarrassing naked photos of yourself on Facebook is a terrible idea. You doing that poses an invitation to stalkers and you could be a victim of cyber-stalking which can include threats of violence. Stalkers will be tempted to attacking you sexually.
4. Your Phone Number
Sure, you can put contact details such as website info and email for business purposes perhaps but if your phone numbers, you’ve just given identity thieves a key to stalking you. Sharing it with Facebook Pages can also get you in trouble.
5. Hate speech
In fact, with each pointless hateful comment, more and more of your “friends” are silently blocking you from appearing in their news feeds, until at last one day you are simply screaming into the void, with no one to answer—as fitting a punishment as we can imagine. Also, your insecurity is showing.
6. Password clues
Online security questions aren’t the strongest, especially when they require information that you could easily give away on social networks. The small town where you grew up, your childhood pet’s name, where you were married, your first boyfriend’s name — these are all specific details your larger social circle doesn’t need to know anyway.
7. Private photos
We’re not assuming you would ever post nude photos on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. But you may Direct Message or Snapchat them. That’s still a bad idea, seeing as how no one but you can be trusted with those photos these days.
8. Personal Finance Information
Obviously, you never want to share sensitive financial information like your bank account or credit card numbers (!). But I also discourage business owners from sharing info like financial projections, quotas or earnings. While this can be acceptable in certain industries (e.g., online marketers often share monthly income reports), this isn’t the norm in most industries.
9. Anything You Don’t Want Shared
Social networking is all about sharing, so something you think is in confidence can easily be shared and then shared again, and before you know it, someone you don’t even know has access to something private. “When in doubt, leave it out” is a good motto to follow. And always remember that anything you share has the potential to be leaked in some way.
10. Offensive content on social media
Where do I start? There are so many types of posts that fall into this category. Racial slurs, graphic images, crude jokes, swearing (except in the rare event this is an integral part of your brand), to name just a few.