Social Networking

Social Networking is a vehicle that allows one to connect with others through written communication.  There are various types of social network sites.  The most common range from professional, chat and or inform, content based, collaborative, or a combination of all.  Social media sites have become  an integral part of every- day life.  Social media creates an online community that includes communication channels, interaction and content sharing. 

One of the biggest fears for using social networking is the potential compromise of one’s privacy.  The invasion of privacy can create large challenges for individuals and businesses because once private information is posted on the Internet; it will forever be there.  Policies are designed to measure appropriate behavior.  These policies are meant to ensure that there are rules for the type of information that can be shared.

Privacy is a major factor that most consumers forget to consider while using social networking.  Each individual network has their own rules and regulations regarding privacy and what they are able to store in their account.  An example of this is Instagram.  Instagram is an online mobile sharing application that allows people to share photos and videos.  Instagram has a policy that protects all photos.  However they were acquired by Facebook. They updated their privacy policy to inform users that Instagram has retained control over who actually sees the photos.  This give users the ability to opt-in or opt-out to Facebook.  Privacy policies are crucial to social media.  They can usually be found under a home page tab and must be listed on the site.  They must be read and usually pop up as you sign up for a particular social media handle.

One social media handle I use called “Snap Chat” is an instant photo or short video application that allows you to receive an image and only view it for up to 10 seconds.  Something I learned about the app this week is that once you send a photo or video to someone, Snap Chat is able to store anything that you send.  I am sure, it has stated something about that feature on the site but I was not aware of that policy because I was never concerned enough to look for it.  However, some users should be.  Without knowing this information, one could put themselves in an embarrassing situation further down the road when it comes to applying to jobs or trying to acquire more responsibility professionally.

When I was younger and Facebook had just been launched, people my age were not as well informed about the privacy issues they were facing.  Even today if you ask certain people, I am sure they would not realize that if you Google their name, their Facebook will be one of the first things that come up.  I know that when I was growing up, people were using these social networking sites to bully and write inappropriate statuses and opinions.  Even a couple of summers ago I knew a girl who was fired from a job because she Twitted something about a customer who she knew that had walked into the store where she was working.

As I previously stated, it is vital to think twice before posting anything on a social network.  You have to ask yourself if you would mind if employers, family and peers saw whatever it is that you are posting.  As long as you take precautions before posting and make sure to read each social media handles privacy policies, you can use networking in a positive and favorable way.

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