Social networks provide wonderful opportunities to communicate with friends, colleagues, clients, etc., without regard for geographical, time, and physical constraints. What we frequently fail to realize, however, is that there should be absolutely no presumption of privacy of communication, regardless of your privacy settings. Assuming that there are no software vulnerabilities and no human error or misdeeds on the part of those maintaining these social networks, an incredible stretch in and of itself, all it takes is one person to re-tweet or post on their own wall to open your “private” communication to the entire world. Recently, a Chicago lady tweeted to her twenty-six Twitter “friends,” implying that her apartment was moldy. Within hours, this tweet became national news. This case exemplifies both the power and danger of social networking.
It bothers me not at all that people who don’t do their jobs post their slacking exploits on Twitter and Facebook. What does concern me, however, is that ordinary people may be telling the world a little more than they should. For example, a simple “I’m leaving for California tonight, and will be back in two weeks,” means just that to friends, but means “My house will be empty for two weeks,” to potential burglars. Young people boasting about wild parties may mean “I’m cool” to friends, but could mean “Don’t accept me to your college,” to an admissions officer, or “Don’t hire me,” to a potential employer.
Perhaps it would be appropriate to ask yourself, “Is there any reason not to share this with the entire world,” BEFORE posting. News, good or bad, travels around the world in the blink of an eye. As we all know, there is no “recall” button on information traveling around the internet.