How To Avoid Oversharing on Social Networks

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Do Social Networking Websites Foster Narcissism, Divorce, and Oversharing?

No one can deny that social networking has changed the way you perceive the world and other people. More and more Americans are reaching out and relating to each other better through the computer than they would face to face. No matter if you are a social misfit or an active politician, somewhere in the world of social networking, there is a place for you.

On the flip side, social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter have opened a door to a host of problems that literally never existed before. The constant flux of personal data being put forth on the Web has resulted in people constantly trying to keep up with the virtual neighbors. No longer a simple social network, Facebook can now be both the cause behind divorce and evidence in a divorce case. So, it is prudent to know how to avoid oversharing on social networks.

People are so excited about being open they forget that spending time on these websites makes your personal information available for the entire world to see. This article will discuss the potential pitfalls of social networking and how these websites can affect your day-to-day life.

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Protect your electronic privacy on Facebook and Twitter

If you spend any time at all on the World Wide Web, you will not be able to deny the power of social networking. Facebook estimates its user base at over one billion and growing. The FBI uses Facebook to catch criminals, and the White House has their own page to connect with the public. Not only is Facebook the number one social network, but also CEO Mark Zuckerberg was named Time Magazine Person of the Year 2010.

Not far behind Facebook, Twitter has reached 175 million users and produces 65 million tweets per day that are loaded with personal data. It’s easy to see why people are signing up and sharing their personal information on Facebook and Twitter. Everyone wants to get in on this growing trend, but social networking does take a toll on your digital privacy and potentially your online reputation.

People are so excited about being open they forget that spending time on these websites makes your personal information available for the entire world to see. Learn how to avoid oversharing on social networks in order to not fall victim.

Facebook is about, more than anything, creating connections between its users. Unfortunately since the advent of social networking, the amount of users ‘disconnecting’ from each other has risen dramatically. Splitting up is no longer due to simple irreconcilable differences; personal information posted on Facebook is now routinely cited as a cause of divorce and is said to responsible for one out of every five online divorce petitions filed.

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Social networking has become responsible for divorce and lawyers routinely use personal data on Facebook as evidence in court. Although you may feel comfortable with your website privacy and follow the recommended Facebook privacy settings to the letter, lawyers may be able to gain access to your account and use your personal data against you.

Control your personal information when you tweet or update on Facebook and Twitter

Social networking invites its users to step beyond the boundaries of electronic privacy and be open to sharing the highlights and even mundane details of their daily lives. Whether you are posting a status update on Facebook about washing your car or Tweeting about your visit to the dentist, it would seem that most updates are innocent blasts of personal information.

The problem arises when an interested party puts the pieces together. Data mining companies focus on social networking websites to compile user profiles for advertising companies. Perhaps even more disturbing than companies tracking your personal information, now more than ever users of social networking websites are being judged on their online reputation.

There is such a thing as being too open on social networks, resulting in a potentially damaged Internet reputation or offline trouble for users. Home break-ins have been blamed on Facebook status updates, as users personal data or photos of them on holiday or provide a pattern of Tweets indicating when they won’t be home during the day. Employers routinely check out Facebook and Twitter prior to hiring an individual, and have referenced social networking as helping them make choices on future employees.

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When Tweeting or posting Facebook status updates, it can feel as though it is just you and your computer. However, when your personal information is on the World Wide Web, its can leave a trail right back to your doorstep.

There are definite benefits that come from social networking: Connecting with old friends, reuniting with long lost family members, and networking in order to gain a better job. Yet there are distinct disadvantages to being on the receiving end of massive amounts of personal data.

When done correctly, sending out personal information on a daily basis can be a type of healthy narcissism. Personal photos can be shared among family members and you can receive accolades on your proudest achievements when you broadcast it to your friends and followers.

The downside of sending out and receiving personal data is that you can become over-eager to keep up with your neighbors, both digital and in the real world. If your coworker posts a photo of their exotic vacation, you may feel the need to share your own vacation photos. Your neighbor’s new car may give you impetus to share photos of your own. Before you know it, you have exploited your digital privacy and opened the door to others viewing your personal information in ways that might be outside your comfort zone.

Focus on your electronic privacy

Social networking has added an interesting new dimension to society that can be fun and productive. As Facebook continues to struggle with privacy controls and Twitter continues to see its name in the news as a cause in burglaries, the public will discover that the enjoyment you derive from being open on social networks can have definite advantages and consequences.  Learn how to avoid oversharing on social networks to protect yourself.

Rather than continue on with relentless self-promotion, 2011 will see those who invest their time and energy in social networking begin to focus on their digital privacy first and foremost.

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