In today’s digital world, we live a life immersed in technology. It has become part of our culture and has both revolutionized our perspective of the world whilst fundamentally altering the methods we use to keep informed with breaking news stories, interact with our loved ones and stay up-to-date with friends.
People around the world spend a huge amount of time online using a variety of social media tools including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. We GOOGLE, we TWEET, we LIKE, we SKYPE, we POST, we TAG, we CHECK-IN, we ENGAGE. While social media can be amazing resources that allow you to meet and connect with people around the world, it can also significantly increase your privacy risks.
For example, companies are storing large amounts of data on all of us. The most obvious information being collected is data from social media. Everything we post publicly, and sometimes privately, is being stored and analyzed. But, it’s not just social media. There is now a digital record of everything you purchase, everything you watch, where you go and what happens at your house. Even your characteristics are tracked and stored. All of this data is being used to create consumer profiles. Using unique algorithms, companies use this information to cater marketing strategies directly toward your unique preferences.
Some groups are even profiling your personality to specially adapt their interaction with you, whether it’s an email or social media ad. The aggregation and storage of this data is becoming one of the most profitable enterprises on the planet. Everything you do on social media can be collected. Even the location from where you post can be tracked, and if done in real-time, this can put you at risk. Even after social media accounts are deleted, personal information can still be collected from a variety of online sources.
Keeping Your Social Media Secure
After all is said and done, it’s important to know what is being done with your data and to make informed decisions on what you post. Don’t worry, you don’t have to stop tweeting or abandon your favorite social media sites just yet. Just ask yourself the following questions before you post.
- Am I OK with this post existing forever?
- Am I OK with this post being read by anyone?
- Am I OK with this post being used to profile who I am?
If the answer to these questions is yes, post away. If the answer is no, reconsider what and how much you want to share online.
Remember, the more information you share online, the easier it is for the wrong person to attain this information. Make sure your privacy settings are as secure as they can be on social media, although keep in mind that this doesn’t protect your information completely.