Four Social Media Mistakes

  • According to a recent Pew Research Center study, nearly half of American adults now use social media, double the number revealed in a similar study in 2008. What that means for you is that there's a good chance your friends aren't the only ones checking out your Facebook profile.


    Today, colleges, coaches, employers, and law enforcement routinely look at social media profiles. That's why it's more important than ever to play by the rules when you're using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or any other social networking sites. Be sure to avoid these four social media mistakes. Any one of them can spell disaster for you.


    Mistake #1: Inappropriate Photos

    Once upon a time, Facebook was only used by college students. Today, that fairy tale is over. Because everyone from grandparents to employers now use Facebook to browse through photos, it's important to develop a discerning eye before hitting "post." What to do: Make sure photos on all of your accounts are grandma-approved—no nudity, alcohol or drugs. If you've posted those images to your account, or if one of your friends has tagged you in risqué photos, remove them immediately.


    Mistake #2: Profanity

    It's late and you're upset about the night's loss, so you write a quick tweet about the quarterback that includes an F-bomb. Other obscene or threatening language can be just as damaging. According to the Huffington Post, a Molloy College softball player lost her scholarship due to lyrics from a Chris Brown song she posted on Facebook. What to do: Always think twice about every status update, making sure both the language and message are G-rated.


    Mistake #3: Violating Policy Regulations

    Many organizations have a set policy regarding social media communications. Violating your organization’s policies can get a college acceptance or scholarship revoked, or even get you fired from your job or arrested. What to do: Be aware of your company or organization’s policies and follow them. Make sure the comments and/or pictures that others post on your profile also follow the rules, as you can be judged by the online circle of friends you communicate with. You can avoid any possible violation by keeping certain "friends" who do not follow your organization’s policies out of your accounts altogether.


    Mistake #4: Not Updating Your Privacy Settings

    Public profiles mean anyone and everyone can see what you post; comments, pictures, updates, etc. Even if you censor your own posts and photos, one raunchy comment or snapshot posted by a friend can do serious damage to your reputation. Censoring your social media might seem like a quick way to take the fun out of Facebook, but it has become essential. What you can do: Maintain your circle of friends, and monitor content other people post about you, both on your page and theirs. Review your social media accounts regularly to make sure your privacy settings are set where you want them. Facebook is constantly updating its privacy settings, as are other networking sites, so stay up-to-date with privacy settings on all your accounts. If you’re not sure how to change your privacy settings, Google it.


    Remember the Grandma Rule: If you wouldn’t say it or show it to Grandma, then DON’T post it!