Fear of the new and unknown
I’m tired of getting those irritating PPTs that warn about safety on social media sites; forwarded emails about people getting kidnapped because they shared some vital piece of information on a web 2.0 site; reading an online article telling how the president of Citizen Advice on Public Safety (okay, so that was a loose translation) in Mexico City advises people to ABSTAIN from use of social networks.
There are etiquette books and websites that detail the cultural expectations for social behavior according to conventional norms for all kinds of things: how to eat, dress, speak, etc…in the REAL world (and of course, this varies according to geographical region, culture, etc. but that’s another issue).
But now we have this thing called social media (that goes beyond geographical borders) and some people are so confused as how to behave that they prefer to just stay the hell away from it.
Good plan. Maybe they should avoid dining out in restaurants, too, lest they fail to use the proper fork with their salad.
Common sense can be applied to everything, social media included. Once you’ve posted something, it’s out there. You can delete it, but odds are that someone’s already read it by that time.
When the first people from the office first started following me on Twitter, adding me on Facebook, or reading my blog, it totally freaked me out. Then I realized it was the perfect filter. If I kept my communication appropriate for the office, then I would pretty much avoid anything inappropriate in other realms of life.
A good rule of thumb: apply that same filter to all your online communications. If you wouldn’t say it at the office, don’t say it online. But don’t avoid social media because you’re scared of it. Embrace it, responsibly. The benefits of online networking FAR outweigh the risks.
Oh, and don’t share any info that could compromise your safety, but that is such an obvious one I shouldn’t have to write it.