CodeChangers STEM Blog post

Mistakes Made on Social Media: From the Minor to the Costly

  • Sydney
  • December 02, 2019
  • News

ST. GEORGE, Utah, December 2, 2019 -- Social Media has erupted into being a part of our everyday lives. From Twitter to Instagram to Snapchat, documentation of our lifestyle, opinions and everything else are displayed for the world to see. However, there are some common mistakes that are often made on social media that have ranged from minor slip-ups to even endangering lives. Here, we will cover mistakes people often make in social media--that way we can all make our world a better place to live in.

Oversharing and Other Mistakes

You know the posts--people sharing what they had for breakfast, that they got a splinter or that they showered today (good for them). As harmless as it might seem, these posts that show items such as everyday routines are not needed to be shared publicly. In fact these kinds of posts would be what is called, “oversharing.” Professor Jay Sneddon, a professor of Information Technology at Dixie State University, commented that, “No one is inspired by your headaches, the complaints, or relationships” (J. Sneddon, personal communication, February 14, 2019). These posts can actually do more harm than good as they can provide a tasteless image on your online reputation. Not to mention, repeatedly oversharing can get old for viewers or followers. People don’t usually want to be labeled as tacky or annoying, right?

Your online reputation (or the lack thereof) can effect your life outside the internet. When asked about mistakes on posting on social media, Professor Sneddon commented on how posts can even affect your employment and your personal relationships. Mistakes such as “sharing about searching for a new job is bad form when you current boss reads your posts. [And] Old posts about girlfriends are awkward for the new girlfriend” (J. Sneddon, personal communication, February 14, 2019). Although often posts are made with good intentions, be careful. These posts are permanent and public. One good rule of thumb, is that if you wouldn’t want this on the front page of the city’s newspaper, don’t post it. We’re sure you will thank yourself later that you didn’t.

Posting while you are on vacation

Ah… You are enjoying your Caribbean cruise. You pick up your phone and take a selfie of you and your family sunbathing. You write, “Man, it is so good to get away--all of us as a family. #vacation #cruise #hashtag.” Now you can relax and enjoy your vacation, right? Not quite. Now as harmless as this post may seem, this post just might have put your family and/or your belongings in danger.

Allow us to explain. On the internet, that post is available for everyone to see. Now everyone that sees the post knows that you are away from home, in an entirely different country or state and that your house is currently unoccupied. While this might be a cute post for friends to see, this could also mean that your house has just become your local robber’s next target. According to the article on Lifewire, “A thief trolling social media, or perhaps a friend of a friend with a delinquent brother who happens to see your vacation post, might decide that while you're away on your expensive vacation, your home is prime for plundering… Never assume that your status post is going out to only your friends, even if your Facebook privacy settings only allow friends to view your posts” (O’donnell, 2019). Posting about your trip can prove to be a reckless move while abroad. Instead, post about your adventures after your vacation. Besides, you didn’t save all that money and get work off to spend time on Instagram or Facebook. Concentrate on your surroundings and your new adventures--not your social media feed.

Posting telling information about you

Okay, we have all seen that one dumb criminal that boasts on social media that he or she just committed a crime in a post that shows his or her picture, full name or address. Just as these criminals can now testify, displaying identifiable information online can prove to be a careless move. Posting or storing telling information, such as your address, social security information, pictures of your debit card (don’t think we are kidding--it’s happened) is extremely dangerous to do on the internet. Otherwise you might be looking at having a stolen identity, or waking up to an empty bank account. On the other hand, what would you do if your account or social media of choice was hacked into? The hacker would then have direct access to your identifiable information. Yeah, it’s better to remain more vague than it is to be totally open on the internet.

Posting controversial/ questionable pictures or posts

One beautiful thing about the internet is that it provides people the opportunity to display their opinions more openly. However, there are times that electronically displaying your point of view is not a good idea. For example, use caution when posting about political or spiritual beliefs--especially if they appear controversial to some. Now there is nothing wrong with sharing your positions, but you can go too far--especially if you start picking fights or if the post is particularly tacky or risque. Getting into arguments on the internet is a great way to burn down bridges with friends. Did you also know that many employers like to look through their applicant’s social media accounts? What would happen if your current boss ran into a controversial public post of yours? Not only could these posts make you lose friends, they could also make you lose your job. Just some food for thought.

Giving out your account information

Be extremely careful with who you give your social media account credentials to. Once you give out your credentials to someone, he or she has access to your account and could control what you post. In some true, horror stories, vengeful people have made malicious posts in another person’s social media and then locked that person out from his or her account. Be extremely cautious in what information you give out, especially if that person could be put in a position in which they could take revenge on you (e.g., angry roommate, girlfriend/boyfriend, wife/husband). Or maybe just take your credentials to the grave. That might be easier actually.

Cyber bullying

The saddest and probably the deadliest social media wrong people do is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs electronically, such as through the internet, social media, chat rooms and more. The tricky thing about Cyberbullying is that the abuse can be more anonymous and especially nasty. According to Stopbullying.gov, cyberbullying can be seen publicly (thus ruining the online reputation of everyone involved), be harder to be shut down (when compared to physical bullying at places such as schools), and can be especially harmful as people can bully the victim at any time, any where (Stopbullying.gov, n.d.). Cyberbullying can literally unravel lives. Serious consequences of cyberbullying have included shame, low self esteem, self harm and even suicide. Don’t say or post something you will regret later. Think before you post. Save someone and yourself heartache. You never know what kind of impact you could have on someone.

Social Media has opened up a world of communication that mankind has never had before. However, a lot of embarrassment or even heartache can be saved by avoiding common mistakes when using these sites. From restraining yourself on posting about your breakfast cereal to being kind to others, we can all make the world a better place through how we post on the internet.

Works Cited

O'Donnell, A. (2019, January 17). What Not to Post on Facebook While on Vacation. In Lifewire. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from https://www.lifewire.com/what-not-to-post-on-facebook-while-youre-on-vacation-2487815

Stopbullying.gov. (n.d). What is cyberbullying. In Stopbullying.gov. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html

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