Posted October 28, 2011 4:18 pm by with 4 comments

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Social media is an excellent tool when you want to spread the good word about your business. Unfortunately, it’s also a minefield of potential security and reputation problems.

Over and over, we’ve seen cases of employers having to apologize for the Tweets made by impulsive employees. And I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen someone post a bit of company news only to delete it minutes later with an “oops” in its place. Legal departments around the globe have to be cursing the day social media was ever invented.

But it’s not just lawyers and CEO’s who are worried. A new infographic from Barracuda labs shows that 73% of those surveyed think employees share too much online. 1 in 5 said that they themselves have been negatively impacted by information exposed on social media and that number is likely to climb.

Too much information isn’t just a Facebook or Twitter problem. Yesterday, the Screen Actor’s Guild blasted IMDB for listing an actor’s age without permission. They say that an actor over fifty, who looks thirty will get a call for a wider range of parts if the casting agent doesn’t know his real age. Ipso facto, revealing the age will cut down on the number of roles an actor is offered, limiting his ability to make a living and it encourages age discrimination.

The Barracuda study also showed that 92% of people are worried about identity theft. Grading the top social networks for privacy controls, Facebook got the worst rating with 51%. Twitter came in second with 30%.

So everyone is worried, but is there a good reason for them to be concerned? Barracuda asked respondents to list the problems they’ve faced (not just the ones they imagined) and here’s what they got.

Received spam?  Really? That’s what all the fuss is about? Sure, it’s annoying but is it worth wringing your hands over?  Of all the people worried about identity theft, only 13% reported actually having their accounts stolen. By whom, I wonder.

My old home town paper just reported on a woman who could get 18 months in jail for creating a fake Facebook profile for her ex-boyfriend. Seriously? That’s identity theft? And don’t the courts have bigger criminals to chase than a jilted lover looking to besmirch her ex’s reputation?

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The moral of this whole story is think before you Tweet, post or upload anything into the social sphere. Personal, business, it doesn’t matter. If it’s nasty, controversial, disgusting, morally objectionable or just plain TMI – keep it to yourself. 24 hours later, you’ll be glad you did.

  • Social media certainly is a worry for companies when employees get involved. C’mon. It’s a problem on their own personal accounts so what’s so different when it;’s work?

    I should imagine (don’t quote me) that a lot of problems occur when alcohol is involved.

    • If it is true, that 73% of people think employees over share on social media, I wonder how many of them would actually be willing to eliminate social media from their professional lives. Further, I wonder if they realize how some of the potential risks of social media are gold mines for marketers. With increasing access into the daily social lives of people via social media, marketers have even more access to information and opportunities to advertise.

  • Very good post. The recent introduction of social media into the world of business has certainly opened many doors for businesses, however as mentioned above it does also have its problems. I am shocked by many of these high percentages as well, especially the security based ones. I thought there would have been higher quality precautions in place to prevent such aspects.

  • I think that we have to be more aware of the fact that what we post online, stays online… or whenever you have problems, FACE it; Don’t Facebook it! Sometimes, you can’t help but wonder if we’re too busy to simply talk things out that we suddenly developed this obsessive compulsion of getting heard – by the online world, so to speak. Sad, if it is. I love the last line you’ve wrote though: “Personal, business, it doesn’t matter. If it’s nasty, controversial, disgusting, morally objectionable or just plain TMI – keep it to yourself. 24 hours later, you’ll be glad you did.” – makes perfect sense to me!