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30 Things You Should Not Share On Social Media

March 21, 2010

I don’t know whether you have started to  notice that a lot of people are wanting help with their cows and ducks on Facebook (and I am finding it a touch annoying as I am not fond of cows) and is due to a very popular online game called Farmville. What prompted 30 Things You Should Not Share on Social Media Networks me to write this list germinated when the few Farmville updates turned into a stream and then into a raging torrent. On Facebook you can actually turn this stream off in the settings section which is a good thing as I have stopped counting sheep when trying to go to sleep and started counting bovines… by the way Mashable have a post that shows you how to block those fascinating Farmville updates.
For those of you who are statistically minded… the Facebook-platform game FarmVille has
So what have the settings for controlling Farmville streams have to do with not sharing certain things on Facebook. Well there are settings on Facebook that allow your updates to be made very public or private  and Facebook’s latest privacy changes in the last few months have actually made more information and photos public in its bid to open up the previously very private walled garden of Facebook (unless you go back to your settings and reset the privacy controls) in its bid to compete with Twitters real time open stream of information in this increasingly competitive social media world as more marketers start implementing social media marketing campaigns like Ford, General Motors and Tourism Queensland (Best Job In The World).
30 Things You Should Not Share on Social Media Networks
So  to protect your reputation, personal brand, your bank account and your privacy you need to be very careful what you write and post on social media channels.
30 Things You Should  Not Share on Social Media
  1. What chicken you are plucking or cow you’re milking on Farmville on Facebook
  2. How many you have killed on Mafia wars or where they are buried.. again on Facebook
  3. Party photos showing you inebriated or a hand placed where it shouldn’t be
  4. That you are having a party.. you might get more guests than you counted on
  5. Photos  revealing  you flirting with the bosses wife at the annual work Christmas party
  6. That you are having an affair
  7. That you are thinking of having an affair
  8. Complaints about your boss
  9. That you hate your job and want to leave.. you might get your wish.. involuntarily
  10. Don’t share photos or an event that reveals that you were not sick that day at work
  11. That are you are planning to take a sickie
  12. Drama with your friends
  13. Issues with your parents
  14. Passwords.. unless you have more money than brains
  15. Hints about passwords like dogs names
  16. Images and videos of your children
  17. Updates on Facebook after you have escaped from Jail and on the run (don’t laugh it has happened)
  18. Revealing your thoughts about a court case… when on jury duty
  19. Don’t link personal sites to professional business sites like LinkedIn.. don’t mix business with pleasure
  20. Financial information such as how much money you do or don’t have in your bank account
  21. Personal Information
  22. How to get more friends or followers.. it already sounds like a scam
  23. You are leaving on a holiday
  24. The dates you are away on your holiday
  25. Your daily schedule.. burglars have know to use these little hints to their advantage
  26. Showing you doing something stupid .. not good for personal branding
  27. Your bodily functions
  28. Revealing extreme views on Race, Religion or politics
  29. What you had for breakfast
  30. Finally, If you are not comfortable about it … don’t share it

Do you have more things you think that should not be shared on Social Media networks?

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48 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna permalink
    March 21, 2010 11:44 am

    While I get some of this, if you follow certain politician then aren’t people going to work out your politics anyway and what one person considers extreme?

    Don’t most people use social media to share holiday photo’s and updates – therefore people are going to know when you’re away.

    Good in theory, but not sure how it all works in practice.

    Agree with the photo’s tho and sickie 🙂

    • April 27, 2010 1:27 pm

      You don’t have to update Facebook with the photos while you are away though, you can wait until you come home…

    • July 1, 2010 3:44 pm

      Not necessarily 🙂

      I’ve seen – on Twitter especially – people following politicians, columnists and bloggers from opposing sides, so to speak. They just want to keep updated, not necessarily a show of support.

  2. Ritesh Patel permalink
    March 21, 2010 12:54 pm

    I think the biggest thing people forget about social media is use “common sense”. The barriers of shame and embarrassment seem to be breaking down online. Common sense in the real world says, “lock your door”, “don’t give a stranger your phone number or address” and “keep your identity safe”. But most forget this online.

    The penchant for sharing photos online is no different to when we used to keep pictures of our kids in our wallet and share them with people at the first chance to show them off. Online is so much easier.

    Overall a good list thanks for sharing Jeff.

  3. March 21, 2010 3:50 pm

    Dear friend,
    Well and wish to hear the same from you.
    All your saying on do and do not on any social website and stressed the importance of vital informations regarding family,dating, about companies policies and company!s executives plan of actions, some vital photos of our family,health and wealth conditions are remarkable and you have cleared all general doubts,the roles of these social websites on our day today life.
    many thanks,

  4. March 21, 2010 4:24 pm

    These are too funny.

    I have to admit, the FB’ers that regularly post drama with their friends, while ridiculously obvious you should NOT post those things, my friends and I tend to find their posts hilariously funny and will keep them as friends for entertainment purposes. In fact, there’s an article in GQ called “Eighteen People You’re Scared Of On Facebook” that is so dead-on and will leave your belly howling with laughter. I could identify each one with an identity. Here it is: http://www.gq.com/entertainment/humor/201001/scary-facebook-friends-profiles#slide=1

    Thanks for posting!
    Allison

  5. March 21, 2010 4:30 pm

    Great points but I’m not sure whether I agree with you totally about the linking aspect of personal sites and professional ones like LinkedIn. People buy from people and therefore, particularly on Twitter, it is important that everyone knows what you are like personally but I would say that you should be professional about it and until you know who you are dealing with, don’t reveal anything too personal. In other words, use common sense and act online like you would do offline.

  6. Marc permalink
    March 22, 2010 12:25 pm

    I absolutely agree with reason #29

  7. March 22, 2010 1:30 pm

    Call me old fashioned, but I really can’t fathom the need to post obscene and vulgar content. I guess if you’re not building a personal brand it might not matter, but I will tell you that someone lost my business by posting an especially crude status.

  8. AmyZ permalink
    March 23, 2010 4:46 pm

    As a college student, I have to wholeheartedly agree on all of these. I’ve seen people get denied jobs and internships based on things they’ve posted on social media sites. Sorry ladies, but no one thinks pictures of you on spring break on the toilet is cute. Especially not your potential boss.
    I’d agree with LinkedIn comment Alex Parr made. It’s a grey area. I’d be fine with posting it on my Facebook and Twitter, because I have made sure they are respectable and clean!

  9. March 23, 2010 9:18 pm

    Common sense, although I do break #16 on Facebook.

    I agree with Ritesh re: “barriers of shame and embarrassment seem to be breaking down online.” It’s a bit scary – I’ve learned more about people than I’ve wanted to these last few years.

    Also – count this in the “hard to believe but true” files (not me, let’s be clear): Don’t set up a false Twitter handle, use the public stream to Tweet (inappropriate content) to the other party from #6… and have that Twitter handle tied to your real Gmail account…. that you use at work. (Remember, Twitter allows people to search for friends who they’ve emailed or chatted with in Gmail). Awkward, to say the least.

    Christine
    @missusP

  10. Thought I was safemom permalink
    March 24, 2010 4:38 am

    I like to keep albums of my family on facebook for friends and family and I have heard that facebook will make email obsolete because of the ability to goto someone’s site and not have to share large files through email. If you have to allow people acces into your account aren’t your pictures safe?…I understand you are talking about a new policy with facebook, so I naturally want your input on this especially since I am going through a separation, but even more so if I am making my children a target in some way I do not want to do that!

    Thanks,

  11. March 24, 2010 11:08 am

    Facebook is very different from Twitter. They may be trying to open it out in the same way but they’re hamstrung in just how far they can take it by the privacy issues involved. They’ll never be able to open out completely.

    As it stands, if you set your privacy right then you can behave quite differently on Facebook than you can on Twitter. Only friend up your real friends and family, make your account private and feel free to post pictures of your wee ones or comprimising stories of what went on in Vegas.

    In other Social Media spaces though, all of the above apply in general but personal brands are, by definition, quirky. It may serve you well to post about your personal views on religion or politics if you’re happy with your niche. As with the Real World, everyone is different and that should be celebrated, not blanded out by adhering to a set of rules.

  12. March 25, 2010 1:03 pm

    I recently ran across a Facebook group in which sub shop employees traded stories about how much they hate their customers. It was quite vicious, crude & laden with profanity. I posted excerpts here:

    Facebook Horror Stories: Sub Franchise Employees Hating On Customers
    http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/facebook-horror-stories-sub-franchise-employees-hating-on-customers/

    While it’s obviously damaging to the sub chain’s brand, these employees don’t realize the damage they are doing to their own reputations and any hope they may have of decent employment. It’s like putting up a billboard with your picture that reads “Don’t hire me! I’m a moron!”

  13. March 25, 2010 4:56 pm

    I can definitely see where you are coming from with this post. Some people post a ridiculous amount of information on their personal profiles. I believe in having a standard of… if there’s someone in the world who you don’t want to see the content, including your mother, your significant other, your friends, your employer, a burglar, etc., DON’T post it online. Once it is online, consider it global for all eyes to see. With proper privacy settings, you may be safe from some, but if they want the information bad enough, they will find a way to get it. So bottom line…Don’t post personal information that isn’t appropriate for everyone in the Internet audience.

    MOS Website: http://www.moscreative.com/
    MOS Blog: http://blog.moscreative.com/

  14. March 26, 2010 6:54 pm

    Even though these don’ts seem obvious you still see this type of stuff posted again and again. Thanks for helping others that are not thinking about helping themselves.

  15. March 30, 2010 11:46 am

    Hi Jeff,
    thanks for a really interesting and thought-provoking article. Of course I read this straight after reading your post on 20 Things you should share on Social Media.
    I have to absolutely agree with:
    #1 farmville….it’s totally annoying.
    #16 unless you know how to set your privacy settings, this is a no, no.
    as for all the rest, you kinda opened my eyes a bit, I never realised that people post some of those things; unreal.
    I read through the comments and I agree with a number of the points made, and I guess it depends on why you are using these platforms. Loads of people fall into the personal use category and therefore will post what they like not considering the consequences. My nephew lost his job due to his posts, and I unfriended him on facebook coz of his content. In fact, I make that a rule on both facebook and twitter. If someone befriends or follows me and I find their content undesireable, I simply block them. I don’t mind marketing, or promotional messages, as I too am in business, however, if someone blasts me with only marketing links whatever the content, I block them too.
    If we are using these platforms for business or branding then it makes sense to keep it clean.
    I note what both Retish and Christine say about barriers breaking down, and people who are inclined to that type of behaviour online are probably that way inclined offline.
    Your tips are great and there are a geat many people who could benefit from reading your blog. Thanks again for terrific content.
    Hopefully I havn’t broken any rules 🙂
    Cindy @notjustagranny

  16. April 5, 2010 7:34 pm

    4.That you are having a party.. you might get more guests than you counted on.

    Or there will be hurt feelings. For instance, if you are throwing a party and haven’t invited all your FB friends, but they all find out that you are throwing a party because you stupidly announced it on FB and now they know they weren’t invited… it’s bad, real bad.

    I don’t obey all these rules, but I do try to keep my professional sites separate from FB. Don’t need my LinkedIn pals to see drunk party pics that my wonderful FB friend decided to pull out from 10 years ago and tag me (okay, it was really from last weekend). Ha. 🙂

  17. April 8, 2010 6:11 pm

    Great Post. I am guilty of a few things but i’m luck because my boss didn’t find out. Yet. 🙂

  18. April 15, 2010 9:37 pm

    While I agree with most of these, I think some depend on the user and their level of comfort. For instance, I personally mix business and personal to the point where I have a teeny-tiny personal box (includes all bodily functions & family drama!) that is off-limits and everything else is me, which is essentially how I have branded myself.

    I am actually traveling now and have been meeting people from Twitter and Foursquare. I have broadcast my travel schedule all over the shop so people know where I am so that I can have the greatest chance of meeting people. I can understand that people may want to protect their homes, and that is sensible, but if someone wants to break in there are many ways.

    The one I am also on the fence about is the video and photos of children. I am not a mom yet, but being that I live my life online now, I wonder how I will feel about this issue when I have kids. Sometimes I look at the “mommy bloggers” and think, “OMG! How can you broadcast your kid like that on YouTube!” but my friend in Melbourne just had a baby and her husband won’t let her put photos of the baby on Facebook. Bummer. What is line?

    Thanks Jeff 🙂 I always love your posts!

  19. Kim permalink
    April 20, 2010 2:01 pm

    Jeff,
    You pitched in “images of your children” at #16 almost as an aside. Will you please elaborate? Do you mean that in a professional context> Or both professional and personal? I manage the social media strategy for a $25 B organization and keep my professional uses of social media competely segregated from my personal channels/profiles. As a “mommy blogger” I don’t share our last names or location.

    I’d love to know your thoughts on managing privacy and professional image — such a growing issue!

  20. April 22, 2010 4:05 pm

    I too would really like some clarification on the topic of posting pics & videos of children. I’ve never quite understood why some people are so freaked out about this, and what it is they think will happen if they post such things.

  21. April 23, 2010 5:19 am

    I follow the general idea but I don’t stress – meaning I don’t think about every move – about posting family photos, and certainly mixing business and personal on FB is a non-issue for me. I just don’t get the point in segregation anymore.

    I used to do it that way but let’s face someone just googles and there it all is in a big list, all my personal and business footprints. Do you mean don’t place personal photos on Flickr or Picasa etc etc as well, as they’ll be found in an easy few steps?

    Sure, you need to think one step ahead before doing something you’ll regret.

    So for me that means just that – think just a moment, without getting tied up in knots about segregating what goes where and who might see it. It will all be found! And in fact people like to know something about a persons personal context even if they only have business relationships.

    I think this is all just one big melting pot. I can see Facebook far outpacing Linkedin for business, even though there are those who swear they will only use Linkedin for business. What they “swear” is actually irrelevant, since you need to be where business is being done if you want to do business, and if that’s FB then that’s FB, no matter what you feel about that. I have no idea if I’m right or wrong but my perception of the trend for business is Linkedin down, FB up.

    I go with the flow of how the world’s going even if I don’t have all the answers or know where it will end up. Sure, there’s a risk, but there’s a risk in giving your kids a flu vaccination and I’d rather sweat that one than sweating the semantics of an intended comment re personal or business and where I post it.

    Anyway yours is a thought-provoking post, as always.

    Walter Adamson @g2m
    http://xeesm.com/walter
    Melbourne.

  22. Obviously Anonymous permalink
    April 26, 2010 4:25 am

    Damn… and I was just about to connect a motion detector from my pants to facebook…

    Thanks for the heads up!

  23. bidaelgran permalink
    May 31, 2010 6:18 pm

    Agree with point 1, so annoying. 😀

  24. June 3, 2010 8:11 pm

    Awesome post.. Agree with all point. Thanks

  25. June 4, 2010 12:20 pm

    This is a great list, and I agree with most of it. HOWEVER. I disagree with…

    #19/29: I keep Facebook 100% personal but I connect Twitter and LinkedIn, even though Twitter is 50/50 personal and business. I think it’s important to inject a good amount of “personal” info into your business. People whine that they don’t want to know what someone had for breakfast, but isn’t that what small talk is? The whole point of networking is that you connect with people on levels that may or may not be directly connected to your job. And that’s fine! Networking would be soooo boring without that!

    #22: Agree that it sounds like a scam, disagree that it can’t be helpful. Doing it in a creative way (ala Naomi Dunford: http://bit.ly/9m2hEy or, well, me: http://bit.ly/dxqzmI) can be both popular and helpful. Just depends on how you do it. Using autofollow programs and spam is NOT the way to do it. Advising people what works and what doesn’t (like maybe this post?) IS useful.

  26. June 9, 2010 6:13 pm

    When I first started blogging in 2002 social media existed almost soley for the purpose of anonymously sharing the details of your life with kindred strangers that you would eventually build friendships with. It has changed completely but I continue to use it as I always did by keeping my personal sites private (no sharing of my real name, location or details) but also getting the most from new social media which is extension of the relationships I have in Real Life.

    I guess my point is: do a good job of hiding your personal blog.
    And also that: I’m nostalgic for the old days when the web was a bunch of awkward 20-somethings. =)

  27. June 12, 2010 12:08 am

    I especially hate #1 and #2 OMG, it’s like really, do you think I care? I get this all the time in my stream…

  28. June 19, 2010 8:05 am

    Meh, if I followed these rules, my Facebook and Twitter would be empty.

    Use your brains people, not rules and lists.

  29. Trish Smith permalink
    June 27, 2010 4:05 pm

    Just curious – what’s a chook?

  30. July 13, 2010 10:09 am

    Nice article . Thanks for sharing.

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