This is post 5 on the Online Privacy Please! series I am writing to share my thoughts on issues of online privacy!
I have heard countless stories on how people had to close their twitter and facebook accounts because they had an uncomfortable situation where the main issue was privacy. If we look closer at the reason the account was closed, at one point or another, that person probably shared something that should have been kept off-line. People that I know are open minded and appreciate feedback, usually get a private message from me when I see content that concerns me. On Facebook, I have seen a good amount of people posting their last 6 digits of their social security number (in Puerto Rico the easiest numbers to guess are the first ones) because they passed the bar exam. Other people post pictures of themselves in front of their house where they have an address and house number visible to everyone.
Not only are their criminal organizations that can hurt you from a standpoint of identify theft, we should worry about how organizations are protecting your privacy, there might be contacts and individuals who have malicious intent to hurt you in one way or the other. As great as the internet seems to be, there are people that you probably did not click with or have a different opinion from what they think and they will choose to attack you.
Should I Delete my social profiles to feel safer?
When I get asked this question, I try to make the person think about what they have asked. Who is responsible for protecting your information? People love to delegate the protection of their personal information to third parties but at the end of the day who is going to care about your privacy more than yourself. I personally Love everyone trust no one. By taking this approach, I don’t make trust the issue of protecting my privacy. Taking this stance makes me protect my personal information even more. By making sure everything I share online is public information I don’t need to ask myself the question of “Who should I trust”.
It is not about closing your accounts to feel safer it is about what you share on your account and what not to share.
Monitoring is Critical
I myself have made many mistakes online and have paid for them. But I have also learned from each experience. My recommendation is not closing the account or deleting them (although there are exceptions in extreme situations where I would go the other way). I recommend you to continuously monitor. Social profiles allow us to increase our contacts and therefore the more reach you have the less control you get. Let say someone posts something about you and you never know about it. Being present allows you to fix it or take action.
How to Take Action
You can take action in many ways. When something bothers me I reach out to the person and see if I can get a reason why the person did that. If I see the person had malicious intent I look for a way of distancing myself from that person. You can distance yourself either by unfollowing them on twitter, unfriending them on facebook, removing them from your contacts, or depending on the situation even blocking them.
How much do you want to share?
On the other side it is all about how much you share. I have @danielalcolon’s pictures on a separate website and I hardly share any pictures on twitter or Facebook. They are for our family and friends to see how Daniela is doing without us having to worry about where the pictures are being shared and who has easy access to them (notice I did say easy since once you post something online there are many ways people can get to them illegally).
Overall stay alert of what is going on around you. Sharing what you know will not bring negative consequences to you. Make sure you understand that posting sometimes does have a cause and effect. If you are willing to post make sure you can handle the actions that might follow what you posted.
What are you willing to share online? What would you not?
Do you think Deleting social profiles are a solution or just a quick band aid?
Special thanks to Kaila a good friend from my childhood who inspired this post when she left a comment on the previous post of this series Online Privacy Please.