|Mon Sept 2 2013 15:35:56|
How Much Is TOO Much When Sharing Online?
By: Ina Steiner
|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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