Social media - the essential guide
Addicted to Facebook? Can't stop Tweeting? Know the facts before you share personal information online.
1. Take control
- Think about what you are going to share, who you’re going to connect with, and how much time you are going to spend on it.
- Decide what you will do if someone is negative or makes you feel uncomfortable.
- On Facebook you can choose to hide unwelcome posts from your news stream. You can also ‘unfriend’ and/or block contacts (they will not be able to see your profile, and you will not be visibleto them when they search for you or look at friend lists).
- On Twitter you can ‘unfollow’ contacts, block them and/or report them for spamming.
2. Be respectful
- Think carefully before posting other people’s personal information. Don’t discuss private or sensitive information on Twitter (use Direct Messages instead) or on someone’s Facebook wall (use a private message instead).
- On Facebook, don’t tag friends in photos unless they have told you they are okay with it.
- If you share information on Twitter by ‘retweeting’, always acknowledge the source.
3. Be positive
- Talk about fun, quirky things that are in your life, and ask questions.
- Share helpful and interesting information.
- Find people with similar interests. On Twitter, you can do this by searching for people by geographical area, using hash tags (words that have a ‘#’ immediately before them, which signal that they are a keyword) or by looking at the people in the lists the people you follow have created.
- If you like what people are sharing, take the time to let them know. On Facebook, ‘like’ people’s status updates and comments, and when you mention someone, tag them (by using the ‘@’ symbol followed by their name) so they will get a notification. On Twitter, you can retweet a post to share it and you can reply to people to make a comment.
4. Protect yourself
- Don’t share too much personal information online, for example where you’re located. Remember that everything you post on Twitter is public.
- Talk to friends and family about how to use the sites safely.
- In Facebook, assign your contacts to different lists to control what they can and cannot see (for example, family, business, acquaintances). When Facebook changes the default privacy settings, make the time to find out what it means for you.