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Protect Yourself and Your Reputation Online!

Posted on: August 6th, 2011 by kfg

THINK before you post, like, tweet or follow.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be lots of fun and a good way to stay connected with friends, but they can also leave you vulnerable to having your identity stolen, your reputation damaged, and even your physical safety compromised. Don’t just do it because your friends are doing it. Protect your identity online and think about the impact to your reputation. Be aware that future employers will check your digital tracks to try to understand what kind of person you are. Remember that the University Creed applies to online activities too.

Protect your identity online.

Think about what you are revealing and how easy it may be for a total stranger to find out personal details about you. Use privacy settings in social media applications to control what others can see, but remember that these sometimes fail. The recent USA Today article, “Web tracking has become a privacy time bomb,” describes the serious trade-off between mobile apps / cool stuff on the Internet and your privacy. Moreover, every website you visit is logged, and most online communication lacks encryption that would prevent others from capturing it.

Protect your reputation online.

Your online activities leave a digital trail that can follow you for years and even a lifetime. Materials that you post online such as photos, videos, and comments can be copied and re-posted indefinitely, making removal virtually impossible. Likewise, preferences revealed through “like” and “follow” can give insights into your personal life and character for all the world to see.

The recent Washington Post article, “More employers using firms that check applicants’ social media history,” stresses that it is just as important for your online presence to be polished and professional as your face to face presence. Likewise, the recent Wall Street Journal article, “Facebook Is Fun for Recruiters, Too,” warns that “Many U.S. companies and recruiters are now looking at your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other accounts and blogs — even YouTube — to paint a clearer picture of who you are.”

Remember that the University Creed applies to online activities.

The University Creed sets standards for how members of the University of Mississippi community conduct themselves and treat each other. It says:

The University of Mississippi is a community of learning dedicated to nurturing excellence in intellectual inquiry and personal character in an open and diverse environment. As a voluntary member of this community:

  • I believe in respect for the dignity of each person
  • I believe in fairness and civility
  • I believe in personal and professional integrity
  • I believe in academic honesty
  • I believe in academic freedom
  • I believe in good stewardship of our resources
  • I pledge to uphold these values and encourage others to follow my example.

The creed is just as relevant when you are blogging, tweeting, and posting as when you are physically on campus.

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