When Sharing Becomes TMI
Last week was apparently host to Social Media Day. I had assumed that every day was Social Media Day, but June 30 specifically marks the anniversary of the celebration initiated by Mashable seven years ago. Recognition of the transformative and communicative power of the tool that has helped define the 21st century so far is worthwhile, but I think it would be foolish to gloss over the inextricable perils that come along with its widespread use. With constant connection come more opportunities for people’s personal information to be compromised.
Even the highest of the Internet elite aren’t immune, as demonstrated when Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter and Pinterest credentials were stolen. His mistake? Utilizing the same common, mundane practice that countless others do, that of reusing login credentials across different services. This method, though easier on the memory, is indeed one of the main faults people subject themselves to, resulting in the risk of increased security troubles during such high profile attacks on social media platforms as we have seen in recent months—from LinkedIn to MySpace. Hundreds of millions of accounts have already been compromised this year alone.
Privacy awareness is also key. Like I’ve said before, I often notice a surprising lack of care, across generations but especially veering younger, regarding what people choose to share online. Potentially sensitive information is the last thing you should want to post publicly on your timeline, feed or dash. You never who know, outside of authorized friends and family, might someday acquire that data.
Of course, this security consciousness extends beyond social media and into the business world at large. Thankfully, more and more organizations are in fact becoming more cognizant of protecting their most sensitive data files, even risking legal battles with law enforcement. “In Silicon Valley, there’s a new emphasis on putting up barriers to government requests for data,” reported The Washington Post. Now that’s dedication. Encryption, meanwhile, though not simple, is better understood among C-suite execs these days; no longer is it solely the purview of a company’s IT manager. Some corporations are even taking an interesting new tack of deleting their customers’ most sensitive information, rather than saving and trying to secure it. This idea sounds anathema in today’s world of big data, but apparently some think it’s just not worth the hassle.
For the rest, it is crucial to be just as aware and careful with customers’ information as users should be with what they decide to share online.