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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Sept 2 2013 15:35:56

How Much Is TOO Much When Sharing Online?

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Does your online social activity turn off buyers? Are you a chronic over-sharer, and have you thought about the consequences of revealing too much about yourself to family, friends, colleagues and strangers?

There are lots of news stories about young people learning hard lessons about their social sharing on sites like Facebook. Some college admissions and prospective employers are using information dug up on such sites to weed out candidates (pictures of underage drinking, for example).

But what about the impact of social sharing on business people - specifically, online sellers? Do customers get turned off by your posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram? Just how much is an appropriate amount to share online?

Some people find it cathartic to vent about their spouse and children online, but should the world be privy to private family matters? If you're chronicling problems you're facing publicly, might some buyers fear you won't be able to tend to their needs? Politics is another area that can potentially turn off would-be customers.

If you are an "over sharer," you may also be putting security at risk. Information about birth dates, where you went to high school or college, your hometown - these are pieces of information identity thieves can use to hack your accounts.

Sharing your location on FourSquare and Instagram (are you out of town this Labor Day weekend?) can provide information to old-fashioned thieves - burglars. Online sellers are particularly vulnerable, since it's easy for people to see what kinds of valuable inventory they may have on hand.

Photographs are another area of concern, including embedded information that identifies your location, and posting pics of babies and children. And did you know Facebook is allowed to use your pictures to sell ads? The Washington Post explains, "...users' name, profile picture and information such as brands they like can be used for "commercial, sponsored or related content.""

People seem more concerned when the government tracks your online activities but seem to take it for granted when business entities like Facebook and Google do. John Battelle devoted a chapter of his book about Google (The Search, 2005) on "Search, Privacy, Government, and Evil." In the book, he quotes Internet privacy advocate Lauren Weinstein: "We have tended as a society to think of the government as the entity that might build an Orwellian database. But the private sector might just do it, and in a far more powerful way."

Battelle also chatted with Google's Sergey Brin about the implications of the Patriot Act and divulging information about searchers. Law enforcement can request information about users from private businesses - but will they (and are they prepared to) protect your data?



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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Sep 2 17:33:39 2013
Sorry but we don't have the time to spend on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other useless sites.

To busy with friends camping, cooking and just in general have all kinds of company.

Don't care to know more than I already know about some people.
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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Mon Sep 2 17:41:39 2013
I shudder every time I occasionally look at, particularly, Facebook ...

I suspect that both Facebook and LinkedIn are mining, without your permission, even private email client contact lists; I don’t ise Hotmail or Gmail, or the like, and I have had Facebook and LinkedIn suggest people to me that I might know, that indeed I do know, but where my only recorded contact has been by email and there are no other common connections …

And you think the NSA is invading your privacy; at least they can claim they are doing so to protect you, not simply for commercial purposes …
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by: bitbybit This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Sep 2 18:07:13 2013
Online social sharing is becoming more and more like the dreadful Holiday letter. You know, The Letter, the loooong yearly letter from those bragging about their family, vacations, pets and lame attempts at humor. I guess there are those who enjoy receiving it but the keywords are TOO MUCH. I have found too much of anything is never good. Personally I do not want everyone to know my business and find sites like Facebook, Twitter uncomfortable and seldom comment.  
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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset
       
Mon Sep 2 18:13:01 2013
Even if the private entities built an Orwellian database, the government would obtain access to it. That is one HUGE facility they are building out in Utah. I don't think it is Warehouse 13.


On FB I follow a news feed of a couple organizations. My kids seldom use FB and I spend very little time there myself.  My privacy settings are on ''Go away, leave me alone''.  Twitter is good for news & traffic. I don't tweet.

Adults probably have different tolerance levels for sharing on those venues and elsewhere online.  Some news sites are going to start using real identities  in their comment sections. Ought to be interesting.


Never like to see minor children's photos out there for public consumption - never!!! Too many creeps lurking out there with evil intent.

Speaking of which - If the NSA is going to go all ''big brother'' on us, then I sincerely hope they keep child trafficking rings well within their ''unofficial'' brotherly data mining gaze.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Mon Sep 2 23:32:02 2013
Facebook is potentially very, very dangerous. For example, like chat rooms, it's a gold mine for pedophiliacs, swindlers, identity thieves, terrorists, and even serial murderers.

The more frequently someone posts personal information on Facebook, the more comfortable it is.

Many identity thieves make their livings from off of Facebook.

Further, studies have shown that those who spend many hours online daily without significant human contact are more prone to depression and in some cases to suicide.

Facebook and its clones are NOT substitutes for face to face friendships.

No has yet demonstrated that these sites produce any significant sales revenue, but there's no shortage of internet 'gurus' wanting to sell you social networking success packages.
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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon Sep 2 23:50:34 2013
A seller friend of mine had chit-chatted with one of her customers about how excited she was about attending her son's wedding last year. ~ Her buyer friend asked the typical polite questions about ''how long he had known her'' and ''where did he meet her'' ... my friend responded that her son was gay and was marrying another man.

According to my friend, the regular and previously loyal customer simply vanished. After regular monthly purchases for years, she just stopped buying.

We both agree that it's probably related to the fact that my friend was honest about being happy that her son was getting married.

People are strange.
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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 00:57:30 2013
Please note; if you "like" your supplier's web site...you just gave it to all of your customers & contacts on Facebook!   I will not use Facebook for fear of my old sales "ass-ociates" discovering my newest ecommerce sites & plowing in to disrupt my success by under-cutting me!  I was so active on Facebook with that group, but one slip-up & I was labeled public enemy #1 (for trying to help same said leeches to sell more!-go figgur!)
My advice to my child and everyone is simply never do something you don't want plastered on the front page of the news, and to never post any thing on-line you don't want the whole world to know!
That post you made on a merchant's site may come back to haunt you!  I had an old friend look me up...he knew me right down to my allergies!!!
Perminate Link for How Much Is TOO Much When Sharing Online?   How Much Is TOO Much When Sharing Online?
by: Gina This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 01:03:41 2013
My best friend joined Facebook this summer, quite a feat for a technophobe!  Within a WEEK he had a scammer contact him!   This individual claimed that his grandmother "Mary" was in India, in trouble, and in need of immediate funds!  This individual did enough digging into my friend's background to find the name of his paternal grandmother.  He just didn't do ENOUGH digging to know that said grandmother died early of Alzheimer's!  (Either that or he picked a common name and hoped he got a hit on it!)
My best friend immediately cancelled his Facebook account and is even more technophobic now!!!
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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 01:08:39 2013
"I suspect that both Facebook and LinkedIn are mining, without your permission"
Your suspicions are correct.  When someone joins linked in they rarely look at the fine print.  They ALLOW linkedin to send annoying spam to all of their contacts, every single person in their address book, invitations to join linkedin!  They repeat these emails without your knowledge, pissing off your anti-SPAM friends, reletives, and sales associates!!  All without your knowledge...but not without your consent!  It's all in the fine print...as if anyone ever reads the fine print!  Of course they are mining every little bit of information!  You don't believe their service is FREE, DO YOU??
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by: Gina This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 02:01:05 2013
(secretly plotting to steal that cute Basset in the photo, maybe owner has left a trail on social networks..."Always goes for a run on Thursdays through the park"?  "Lets doggie out for one last tour of the neighborhood before bed"? "Loves to prolong it's outdoor time by hiding in the kid's fort in the corner of the yard, by the gate"? "LOVES anyone with ice cream"? "Vet's appointment on the 20th"?)

Point made?

Not a larcenous thought in my head!
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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset
       
Tue Sep 3 07:00:24 2013
LOL -
On FB I use a name formulation that could be unisex and don't use MY photo.

When I first joined, I received many email solicitations from women who wanted to get together & ''ahem'' show me good time.

Always wondered if FB was trying to figure out if I was a chic or dude for marketing purposes. Maybe not, since that would not necessarily be a sure-fire way.  
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by: GoodK9 This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 08:21:11 2013
I'm on Facebook, and I actually have 3 pages.  One is my personal page (and only my friends & family can see what's posted), one is for my shop (and it mostly has a feed showing what we have listed on eBay, along with occasional shop updates), and one is for shopping in the tiny town (set up at the request of a couple of fellow merchants).

I've never once had a scammer contact me, but I am extremely cautious about what I post and where.
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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G
       
Tue Sep 3 09:13:31 2013
It is the digital equivalent of the analog routine of walking down the crowded street with your wallet exposed or your handbag on your elbow.

Nothing new, just a different playground for the pickpockets & purse-snatchers.

Oh yes, and the classic "Psst - want to buy a Rolex cheap?"

Have I got a nice bridge to for you! You can cross the East River without getting your feet wet & charge others for the privilege!
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by: Bebe This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 09:19:58 2013
I have been on FB for years to stay in touch with family and friends. I don't advertise my business on my page.  If used right and wisely it can be fun.  
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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Tue Sep 3 10:12:36 2013
FB seemed interesting enough to start with, but constant changes to its site made me dislike it a lot so other than checking in on friends, and sending automatic post via Pinterest on products I have for sale I don't use it much. What I find interesting is all the 'games' I'm asked to join on FB by friends that apparently have nothing else to do with their time and every one of the games, to sign up you have to sign your life and privacy away. The same holds true with their birthday club or whatever it is called.

Since other than occasional comments, Pinterest is relatively photo driven I much prefer it and use it as a marketing tool and was pleased to see last month two sale directly from Pinterest.

It is hard to strike the right balance to be able to use these sites for marketing and fun and to keep our personal privacy safe.
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by: comet This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 10:17:48 2013
I don't "like"  the creepy-stalker factor on FB where if you go from a "trusted" blog to enter say a contest (giveaway)  that if this is a FB "like" dealie you get a pop-up DEMANDING that you allow FB to contact ALL of your contacts!  With what info I dunno as I have NOT opted in to those and complain to the blog owners every time I see one.  

But yeah for YEARS I have wondered WHO was gathering info on us and WHAT they were doing with it.  I AM that paranoid.  

I do also like to poke the nest so considered taking things like "The Anarchists Handbook"  etc out of the Library when the Patriot Act decided that ALL book readers were suspect and libraries HAD to keep a HAND WRITTEN LIST of exactly WHO took out WHAT.  I asked a librarian friend who works for a large library--what do they DO with these?   She told me--at the end of the day we just throw them OUT!

I was soooooo crushed at this---I sooooo want to be arrested for reading something like STEAL THIS BOOK or The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas---ya know---classic anarchist lit.

Always wondered if there was a "Top Secret Double Probation" list for BOOKSTORES to report us to the Patriot Act people--pay cash and who would ever KNOW????  
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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 10:33:44 2013
Do not trust facebook or any other social site. I doubt they make all the money just from advertisers. Think they sell your info.
Hate when they throw the word ''friend'' around. Obvious they do not know the true definition of that word. The word followers is even more creepy - unless you like to be followed, which makes you creepy.  
My opinion only.
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by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 11:09:26 2013
@ PhilipCohen : ''I suspect that both Facebook and LinkedIn are mining, without your permission, even private email client contact lists; I don’t ise Hotmail or Gmail, or the like, and I have had Facebook and LinkedIn suggest people to me that I might know, that indeed I do know, but where my only recorded contact has been by email and there are no other common connections … ''

I too have had this exact same thing happen. Documented proof FB has obtained and is misusing not only my email but the accounts of my friends, whose accounts FB used to send ''invites'' to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
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by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Sep 3 11:11:42 2013
I cannot believe how stupid people are to post personal information on any of these sites. There is no ''Free Lunch.''

You can bet that if something is free, they are getting something from you/your account that you are not aware of (Read the ''privacy'' statements and fine print, it will scare you)

If my former mother-in-law (rest her soul) were around she would call it part of a communist plot. With all the tracking capability mushrooming up everywhere, pretty soon Big Brother will know your every move................
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by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Tue Sep 3 11:46:18 2013
If you do not believe in Big Brother, try the website I posted above, which is  

http://rt.com/news/utah-data-center-spy-789/

Be sure to read the information about FB and other social sites.

and you can Google similar reports.  
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