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Here’s how to protect your dignity and privacy on social media

SELFIE

Jody Sticca-(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Luz Ivonne Ream - published on 02/04/18

You are what you publish, so let these tips guide what you choose to post.

We don’t have be a trained psychologist to discern what a social media post says about someone’s personality, whether expressed by means of short phrases, a longer reflection, a photo, or an emoji expressing their empathy, like, or dislike. We are what we post, and it is high time that we get that into our heads. This is why we should pay attention to what we share and how we share it, because, to paraphrase Our Lord’s words, what comes out of our mouth — or in this case, off our keyboard and keypads — proceeds from the heart.

Social networks came into our lives years ago now, and are here to stay. We see and read about everything through them — and when I say everything, I mean everything! They have become a great soap opera, because there we see people’s lives exposed: intrigues, mystery, suspense, news, gossip, and the like.

We find out about everything … We learn that Patty is divorced already and took longer to prepare her lavish wedding than to end her 6-month marriage … that John gets paid poorly in that burger joint, and shared that he hates his boss … and what about that explosive party Bob and his crew threw in his man cave — and did you see the pictures they shared?! If photos could only speak!

This is the new soap opera of daily life. So many people are imprudent when it comes to sharing their lives publicly. And it’s not a smart thing to do.

Social networks often serve as places where people go to experience a sort of emotional catharsis and a momentary relief because, for one, it is cheaper than going to a psychologist. However, you need to be prudent in what and how you share. Apply here the well-known phrase: “You get what you pay for!” Cheap is often expensive: in the end it comes with a cost, because at least a health care professional has the obligation to keep confidential what we share, but what is shared via social networks is often displayed for anyone anywhere to see.

Even when we might decide to delete what we made public, there is always someone who saw and read it, and possibly even someone more clever who took a screenshot of our memorable words. Often, there is no turning back. Remember that every publication is, as the word “publication” indicates, “public,” and anyone can make use of it, for good or for ill.

What should you publish on your social media profiles?

  • Use common sense, and post things that add to your life and can contribute to the community.
  • Share who you really are, but without violating your personal space or that of your family.
  • Your privacy should never be compromised or adversely affected.
  • Share things that will not place you or reputation at risk, but, on the contrary, will help you grow as a person.
  • Present yourself truthfully, but also with the prudence befitting your dignity as a person.
  • Do not share anything that denigrates you as a person, such as inappropriate or provocative photos, or pictures that reveal the consumption of drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Do not post insults, foul language, double entendre, or vulgar jokes.
  • Do not offend others, or write discriminatory or humiliating expressions.
  • Do not complain about your job or boss.
  • Do not discuss family or conjugal problems.
  • Also, do not share your location or your vacation plans.
  • Lastly, before sharing anything, think about it at least three times.

I repeat, you are what you publish. Take care to protect your good name, prestige, and reputation. Keep in mind that today the vast majority of employers, even before reading a job applicant’s résumé, research their social network profiles, because they offer a lot of information about the applicant’s personality. In fact, there are plenty of cases of people who have lost their jobs or missed out on an opportunity because of what they published. Remember that a single comment, a single “like” that you should have avoided, an unwise photo, etc., can mark you for life as an unprofessional or unreliable person.

This topic is fascinating, and there is much to learn, so if you are interested, I encourage you to look for more information about the importance of maintaining appropriate privacy in social networks. There are many resources to guide us regarding the importance of, and methods for, protecting our content by controlling both what we post and who we allow to read or see it.

In short, if you do not want anyone to know what you are doing or to read what you write, then the solution is quite simple: do not do it, and do not write it! It’s as clear as day.


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Read more:
Former Facebook execs warn of social media dangers to people and society

This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia, and has been translated and adapted here for English-speaking readers by Martha Fernández-Sardina.

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