Social networking has its advantages. You get to know more people, get the daily buzz, learn more about people, things and happenings, and get to know more online games than you ever would have. However, commit one or more of the five social networking slipups listed below as a college freshman and you may find yourself in soup too hot to handle. Do not commit any slipups below, unless you want to be ostracized both on the social networking sites and in real life.
Slip up 1: Advertise yourself
Too often, in your hurry to let off steam for the day, you let out personal information that should never be on a social network at all. For example, you may innocently post “I’m a size 14 again! Sigh!” You are actually telling stalkers your physique. Anybody stalking you will scan your comments and figure you out.
In the same manner, you may let out your whereabouts. Posting something like “It feels eerie to be alone at Block D while everyone is at the fraternity weekend BBQ, but I do need time to complete this darn assignment.” Any wise stalker will look up your college at your profile and use computer applications or smartphone applications to track down your dormitory, and you as your lights are likely to be the only ones on.
If the social network allows you to post photographs, you allow stalkers to have a peek into the people in your life, and all they want to know about you. It is true that a picture speaks a thousand words, so be careful what photographs or links you decide to post on your social network.
Slip up 2: The most popular freshman of the year
You might think numbers is everything, so you start linking up with folks you do not know personally, except that they are friends of friends of other friends. Unfortunately, if you are unfamiliar with the privacy policies of the social network, you may be availing yourself to stalkers who do not even need to add you as a friend, but can trace you through the networks you have joined.
You might start to flaunt other information about yourself. For example, you might mention that your rich late uncle had left you his certified red Ferrari and that you will drive the Route 66 through the Labor Day weekend. You even post a photograph of you and the Ferrari, with the number plate clearly exposed, and you invite the most eligible beau to spend that weekend with you. The rest of the story is imaginable.
On the other hand, you might also think that tainting other college freshmen’s character is fun and harmless, just to gain popularity. Unfortunately, you are just sowing discord, and leaving evidence for others to track to you. You want to be popular for doing good, not for being infamous.
Slip up 3: Illegal business
It is easy to share assignment answers and other information on social networks, and think that you will never get caught. Even if you used the electronic mailbox or message application, can you guarantee that your account will never be hacked into, let alone having your electronic gadgets and identity stolen? It is important therefore to stay clear of using the social networks to dabble in illegal exchanges in any manner.
Slip up 4: Venting
Before you start ranting about the behavior or character of friends, or friends of friends, do remember that social networks tunnel through the Internet, and you do not know how you map onto other networks. In other words, your statements may be electronically saved as evidence against you and evenly quoted out of context.
Even if you do not quote names, your family and friends may correctly identify who your comments are directed towards. You do not want to be quoted out of context for mindlessly loosing your cool momentarily. If you do want to vent, make sure it is only about you, yourself and your crazy works, not anyone else.
Where possible, leave lecturers, tutors, college mates and family members out of the firing range. You must remember that at times, comments are captured in prompts sent via email. You can delete your comments off the social networking site, but you cannot delete what has been captured and sent via email to others. It is evidence that you may not be able to trace.
Slip up 5: Only you
A social network is not a personal blog. It is not for you to sing praises about yourself or upload good items about you, your stuff and yourself. You should practice social etiquette required in real life communication. In other words, do not go on the social network to dominate conversations, but show genuine interest in other people’s posts.
Just as you join groups at college to learn to communicate with people whom you hope to develop trustworthy relationships, you should join social networking sites for the same reason. The real you will be apparent in no time, so be vigilant about what you post at networking sites. Take time to chew through the intent of other people’s posts. Practice self-control when it comes to posting. When you are aware of the feelings of others, your care and concern will show through your posts.