Friday Donut tip: be careful what you share

By: Imanuel Votteler

Date: 20 July 2012

The power and usefulness of social media has been demonstrated time and time again. In 2012, your business needs a good reason not to start tweeting or getting friendly on Facebook.

But social media makes it easy to share too much. From what you had for breakfast to edgy jokes, some things are best kept to yourself. Just ask Charlie Sheen, who mistakenly tweeted his mobile phone number to about five million people.

We recently stumbled across the Need a debit card Twitter account, which retweets photos of people's debit cards in an effort to highlight the security risk of posting these details online. And it inspired us to come up with these four tips to keep your tweets safe:

  • Don't post images containing sensitive information. As well as your debit and credit cards, keep an eye out for screenshots containing private information, photos of letters and other documents, and private email addresses or telephone numbers.
  • Don't publicise holidays or absences. If your office is empty for the day because you've all gone on the annual outing, that's the ideal time for crooks to strike. And it really does happen - a small survey of criminals suggested Facebook and Twitter offer rich pickings.
  • Don't get into public arguments. Nobody ever wins online arguments. That was true before social media existed and it's true today. If you're involved in a discussion and it's getting out of hand, step away from the keyboard before the red mist descends. It's never pretty to see a professional company get embroiled in a petty online dispute.
  • Don't bash your competitors. It's undignified and it suggests you're seriously worried about the competition. You know that old saying, 'if you can't say something nice then don't say anything'? It definitely applies in this situation.

Finally, remember the golden rule of running your company's social media accounts. If you're not sure whether you should post something, it's usually best not to. There are plenty of other things you can share without risking anything.

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