Keeping it safe on social networking sites!


Much has been written about children keeping safe online but what about adults or to be more specific, employed adults!?

I was reading an interesting article over at about how Adults Outnumber Teens on Social Networks. It states that the percentage of adults with a social networking site has increased from 8% in 2005 to 35% in 2008. It also states that the main reason for a social networking profile for adults was for social activities rather than business.

Having just finished reading the blogging book ‘Naked Conversations’ one of the points made in the book was the importance of social networking sites and the potential it has to make or break a business’ profile. For example, say an employee went out, was a little ‘silly’ and got photographed and tagged in someone’s open Bebo profile ie for the world to see. This indiscretion would be visible for anyone to see who was researching your company or employees and maybe even more importantly for the employee, it could be seen by a potential employer!

While you can argue that anything done in leisure time is no one’s business but your own, do a quick Google search and you will find a load of reports of employees falling foul of an ill thought out social networking comment regardless of ‘freedom of speech’!

So how do you keep your profiles ‘clean’ and lower the risk of a social faux pas!

1) Keep your profiles closed
Make sure only the information you want to be publicly available actually is. In Facebook for example use the privacy settings correctly and you can make sure only the most basic of fact is publicly displayed.

2) Be wary of friends profiles that are open
Its all too easy to be caught out posting on someone else’s profile without realising they have opened their comments to the world. If you really want to have an electronic complaint keep it to an email rather than the comments section and you are at least minimising the risk of an accidental public whinge!

3) Loose lips sink ships
It goes without saying really but whatever you do, do not publish company sensitive information on your profile! Obvious as it may seem it’s still happened…

4) Be careful of groups
Be careful which groups you join. An employer or client finding you on the ‘I hate my job as a waitress and often spit in customers food’ may seem amusing but will more than likely land you in the Job Centre!

5) Keep control of your profile!
It is all too easy to have passwords remembered on your computer but remember that this makes it all too easy for someone to take over your profile for a ‘joke’ and post amusing profile updates and comments. At this point I should probably apologise to my Fiance for doing just that…or should I? He did leave his Bebo account open, some might say it was his own fault…

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    • Louise
    • 14th March 2009

    Thanks Lynne. Used your suggestion of screenshots to do this and sent a print out home with them. We need to educate the parents on this too 🙂

    • admin
    • 20th February 2009

    @Louise : Why not just put a presentation together with screenshots showing them how to change the setting etc to the most secure options? Don’t need a connection for that and they can print it out and reference it later.

    Don’t forget to explain the importance of an un-guessable password – not just their first name or favourite band!

    • Louise
    • 20th February 2009

    With regards to keeping control of your profile, I’m a primary teacher with a class of 8 and 9 yr olds, most of whom have bebos. Some have had issues with other children knowing passwords and changing profiles and pictures etc, not just for a joke but outright bullying. I’m trying to educate them on how to keep safe but we can’t access bebo in school to show how to change passwords, set to private etc. Any suggestions?

    • Software Development India
    • 11th February 2009

    Yeah true.. Its good to maintain the privacy at such social networking sites..