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10 social media do's & dont's

01 Dec 2010
  1. If the network you’re posting on offers built-in privacy tools, use them. You really can’t complain about a breach of privacy if you don’t.
  2. Keep your business and your private lives separate when networking. Ideally, you should be using different networks for each. Your business contacts, other firms that do business with your employer, and even your co-workers, may disapprove of those comments or photos.
  3. Be careful of ‘be my friend’ invitations from people you don’t know. They may be nothing more than links to spam or malware.
  4. Don’t use a common password for social media sites. Don’t use a password you use to access anything else online either. Password protection on social media sites still lags behind other parts of the web, and if your social network page is compromised in this way, at least the harm is confined to just that network. See also last month’s Help Forum for safe password tips.
  5. Don’t use someone else’s computer or a public computer (eg: in an internet cafe) to check your network page, and never leave your page open after reading or updating it.
  6. Beware of requests for your social network details, or "security check” emails. Any problems with your page should be apparent when you log in.
  7. If you’re a business owner, have a clear policy for your staff about social media: what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, and the sort of information that should not be shared. If your business runs its own network page, allow only approved staff to update it.
  8. Reject any invitations to install "useful” or "cool” applications. You’re almost certainly letting in people who want to steal your information. Only install apps that you go seeking yourself, and from reputable sites.
  9. Think before you post. Is that information about yourself or your business actually something you need to share? Your social media postings should be driving customers towards you, not turning them away either because you’ve offended or bored them.
  10. Okay, so you’ve just landed a big contract or won a major award. Don’t post about it as soon as that first bottle of fizz has gone down. Leave it till you’ve had the celebration, then post some more sober reflections.