Be social, Be smart, Be safe!

Do you have an online presence? Nearly 65 percent of American adults now use social networking websites, according to a Pew Research Center study. If you choose to participate in social media personally or professionally, do it the way right and avoid costly social gaffes that can impact your reputation, livelihood and future.

Follow these simple tips to participate in social media and manage your online reputation at the same time.

  • Think before you post. Family, friends, customers, co-workers, business partners, and potential employers can and will judge what you choose to share online. Post information that reflects well on you and your organization. Keep your content clean and proofread your postings. Avoid posting while you’re experiencing strong emotions.
  • Manage your privacy settings. Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings available in your social media accounts (e.g., Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Google+, Facebook). Manage these settings carefully so you know what everyone can and can’t see on your profile or your feed. To set up your privacy settings on most social media accounts, see your account’s settings or preferences panel.
  • Keep up with your social media provider’s privacy policy. Most social media privacy policies are subject to change, so be sure to review the privacy policies for your account on a regular basis. Keep in mind that although privacy settings improve the security of your account, your privacy is never fully guaranteed.
  • Periodically purge your social media accounts. Go through your past postings and remove any pictures, posts, comments, or links that may damage your reputation or your organization’s reputation. Carefully consider whom you include in your friends, followers or circles lists as well. Remember your postings and those of followers are a reflection of yourself and your organization.
  • Enable 2-Step Verification, if available, on your social media accounts. 2-Step Verification, also known as 2 Factor Authentication, adds an additional layer of security when you sign in to your account. Once you activate this security measure, you will be required to log in with your password and an additional security measure (e.g., a security code that is delivered to your mobile device via text, voice call or mobile app, a USB security key, printed backup codes). To view a list of applications that support 2-Step Verification, see Two Factor Auth (2FA).

When you update your timeline, tweet your latest thoughts and post your videos and pics, keep in mind that what you post matters and can have long-lasting consequences.