Do you know your true social media footprint?
There’s a lot of interest in the recent story of Klout automatically creating profiles for minors. If you had linked your Facebook page to Klout and posted on someone’s wall, or they posted on yours, then their profile was dragged into Klout. Massive security concerns were uncovered, but when it was added in that Klout was not distinguishing between adults and minors then the security issues just got bigger.
The Klout kerfuffle is a parable of what can happen when you have an active digital social life. Not only do you leave your own digital footprints everywhere, but you can also drag your online friends with you from site to site, even if they have no interest in going there.
When people began complaining to Klout the feature was turned off, leaving behind a lot of unhappy Klout users. The CEO apologised, but what has been learned and what can we do to protect our online footprint?
What are you using Social Media for?
First of all, decide what your social media accounts are for and tailor your content and contacts round that. If you have a business twitter, don’t link it to your private Facebook page; create a business page instead. If you have a private blog talking about things that you wouldn’t discuss with customers then keep it away from your LinkedIn account. Don’t discuss people or issues that you want to protect in the public arena. Participation in Social Media is voluntary after all.
There are genuine privacy concerns, and telling people to be careful and check their settings may sound a bit like “blame the victim” but the boom in Social Media and the easy accessibility to it for all means that a lot of the issues are picked up and learned as Social Media grows. We trust these platforms with a lot of our information; we need to make sure that firstly they are worthy of the trust and secondly, what kind of damage can be done if they are not?