It comes under the heading of seemed a good idea at the time; a majority of Australians have been embarrassed by what they have posted online.
Two-thirds (67%) of Aussies are embarrassed by content on their social media profiles, over a quarter (28%) of Aussies have either never, or can’t remember, the last time they checked if the content they’ve posted is appropriate, and two-thirds (66%) have at least one inactive account.
A quarter (25%) admit to only deleting posts after a crisis and even 8% confess to posting negative content about their current workplace.
This is especially important considering that 23% have, or know someone who has, had career or job prospects negatively affected by social media content they’ve posted, or been tagged in, and 19% even admit they could lose their job over their social media content.
As well as the potential to hurt career prospects, relaxed attitudes to social media could be leaving the door open for cybercriminals. Considering how much personal information and images social media accounts hold, it’s concerning that 16% say they don’t know how to close down their inactive accounts and a third (34%) don’t know the passwords or no longer have access to the email addresses they used to set them up – effectively locking them out.
Alex Merton-McCann, ‘Cybermum’ at McAfee comments, “While it is always best to think twice before posting something online, many of us are guilty of having posted something that could potentially be damaging to us down the track. It happens to the best of us, with even high profile celebrities and public figures having old social media posts come back to bite them.
“What is particularly concerning is the number of people who haven’t deleted old social media accounts that they aren’t using or checking. Not only could old embarrassing or inappropriate posts be lingering on these accounts just waiting to found by potential employers, but the personal information being held on these accounts could be harvested by cybercriminals for personal gain.
Top tips on how to protect your professional image online
1 Clean-up your digital past. Sift through your old and neglected social media accounts and delete any unwanted tags, photos, comments and posts so they don’t come back to haunt your personal or professional life.
2 Lock down privacy and security settings. Leaving your social media profiles on public means anyone who has access to the internet can view your posts and photos whether you want them to or not. While you should treat anything you post online as public, turning your profiles to private will give you more control over who can see your content and what people can tag you in.
3 Never reuse passwords. Use unique passwords with a combo of lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols for each one of your accounts, even if you don’t think the account holds a lot of personal information. If managing all your passwords seems like a daunting task, look for a security software that includes a password manager.
4 Think before you post. Think twice about each post you make. Will it have a negative impact on you or someone you know down the track? Does it give away personal information that someone could use against you? Making these considerations before you post is the best way to avoid some serious regrets in the future.
5 Employ extra protection across all your devices. Threats such as viruses, identity theft, privacy breaches, and malware can all reach you through your social media. Install a comprehensive security software to protect you from these nasties.
A Top 10 of posts Aussies are most embarrassed by on their social media:
1 Drunken behaviour
2 Comment that can be perceived as offensive
3 Wearing an embarrassing outfit
4 Wardrobe malfunction
5 In their underwear
6 Throwing up
8 Kissing someone they shouldn’t have been
9 Sleeping somewhere they shouldn’t
10 Exposing themselves on purpose
Image by Mike Burns flicr cc attribution license