How to be safe on social media.
It doesn't take a super sleuth to notice that I love social media - good thing too, since that's what I get paid to do!
Over the years, I've become increasingly aware of the dangers that can present themselves when you are sharing your life with the internet. After having heard quite a few insane examples of how ugly things can get by posting a simple photo, I decided to write up a few tips that I follow when I'm posting!
1. Location Services
For some apps, your location is shared automatically if you don't have your location settings set to be off (Twitter, Snapchat). As a test to see how accurate this was, I told my friend last month that I'd meet up with him at a bar in an hour, but I managed to find him 20 min earlier because I'd found his location on Snapchat, down to the exact street block. It's funny when it's your friends, but not when it's a stranger following your every move.
2. Wait to Post
You're having fun at the weekend and want to show everyone on Snapchat or Instagram Stories what you're up to! My hard and fast rule: wait to post it.
I normally wait until after I've left a location to post that I was there, and if I can remember, I try to post an hour (minimum) after the fact. Save your Snaps and Stories, and share them later when you've left or you're home.
When you're traveling in an unfamiliar place, you can feel a bit more vulnerable. My friends have recently started to catch on that I'll post my travel pics weeks or months after my trip. Part of it's because it doesn't fit in my posting schedule, but a lot of it is that I'd rather have the upper hand, and not be caught off guard by a random stranger showing up at brunch.
>> Worth mentioning that I know sometimes people like to get recommendations before/during a trip. In the women's travel groups I'm part of online, I so often see girls saying "I'll be at this hotel on these days, and this is my full itinerary broken down by the hour." Do not do this! Keep your dates and locations to yourself, and be as vague as you can.
4. Favorite Spots
I know you love your local coffee shop and that you're best friends with the baristas there, but your favorite spots can make it easy for someone to track your movements.
If you normally post that you're at the cafe every morning at 8am, maybe switch to posting about it weekly in the afternoons - and stagger the days.
Ideally, you won't be posting your regular hot spots if you're concerned about your safety or privacy. In this example, you could post a picture of a coffee if the branding wasn't obvious, no one was tagged, and location was off.
It's extra work to ensure your internet safety, but when you consider the psycho exes that show up at the club or the stalker that's somehow always across the street, these are habits worth implementing.
If you're a social media geek like me but you want to make this a bit easier for yourself in terms of posting times, I highly recommend Hootsuite (works for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), Tweetdeck, Iconosquare, or Facebook Pages' own scheduling tool.
What safety measures do you implement in your social media practices?