Are You Oversharing?
If your Twitter history is littered with the steps you follow to make a grilled cheese sandwich, you might be sharing too much.
If your idea of appropriate sharing involves a log of all of your trips to the bathroom during your European vacation, said log replete with photos, then you might be sharing too much.
If you send a Tweet to quote each line from “The Princess Bride” from beginning to end, you might be sharing too much. On second thought, that is not really over sharing.
There are plenty of good things to share on social media — that great restaurant you went to last Saturday, your shiny new bike, your most recent crush, or that great birthday card you got from your grandma. But there are a few things you should leave off your feed. And remember, this is for posterity.
Let’s start with some obvious things you shouldn’t post. The biggest things you should avoid are pieces of information that would allow someone to steal your identity: your Social Security number, your credit card number and the information on the back of the card, things that you would use as answers in security questions, and information about your personal physical security.
Social Security Number
The relationship between your Social Security number and your name are a big piece of the puzzle needed by criminals to steal your identity. It might be less important that you have six fingers on your left hand than it is that your SSN is . . . nice try, you criminal! Give out your SSN only to those people who require it and never post it on social media or send it in an email.
Photos of Your Personal Info
This can’t go without saying, even though it is as obvious as a rhyming giant: Do not post pictures of your credit cards (or other ID) on your social media.
The number and information on the back of the card can be used to charge items to the card account and if your card doesn’t have liability protection, you might be on the hook for thousands of dollars of charges. Be proud that you joined the ranks of those enslaved to credit debt, but don’t post pics of your card or share the card information over social media or email.
Security Question Info
This one is tricky. We all like to tell the world a lot about ourselves and unfortunately also give legitimate answers to security questions like “What is your grandmother’s first name?” You can go a couple of ways here.
First, you can decide not to share as much, which likely isn’t going to happen. Or, you can answer security questions with nonsensical, non-factual answers and store those answers in a password vault. Take a look at my previous post on password vaults to learn more.
Last, but not least, be wary of sharing details about your physical location. Don’t put yourself in a position where you need to call the brute squad.
If you go on vacation, wait until you return to post and tag all those pics. Don’t openly tell your public feeds that you are not at home or when you plan to return home. Many social media platforms make it easy to “check in” and share your location data, but you should resist. Remember that it’s also OK to “check out” of social media for a while and just enjoy your time away.
Be safe out there and remember, the Internet has a long memory.