Guide to Social Networking, part 2

Published 12/05/2004 16:24   |    Updated 07/03/2008 14:38

What tips should I adhere to when using Social Networking sites?

Be discreet. The Internet is a public resource, so never type anything into a profile page, bulletin board, instant message or other type of online electronic form that you're not comfortable with anyone seeing. Putting up personal details could expose you to unwanted visitors or the possibility of identity theft or malicious threats.


Be careful about revealing personal and business names and addresses, phone numbers, job titles, birth dates, schedule details, daily routines and business or family information. It's far better to communicate in generalities than to reveal information that unscrupulous individuals may someday use against you.

Only post information you are comfortable with being viewable by others. This includes information in your profile, in blogs and other forums. Also, once you post information online, you can't retract it. Even if you remove the information from a site, saved or cached versions may still exist on other people's computers.

Be wary of strangers. The Internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives. Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal. It is not recommended that you meet them in person.

Be skeptical. Don't believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities. This is not necessarily done with malicious intent; it could be unintentional, a product of exaggeration, or a joke. Take appropriate precautions, though and try to verify the authenticity of any information before you take any action.

Check privacy policies. Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies.



Top Tips


Educate yourself about the site before you post any personal information. Evaluate the social networking Web site and read the privacy policy and code of conduct carefully. To avoid giving the site the email addresses of your friends, do not allow the site to scan your email address book.

Assume what you write on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you have the ability to delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print out the information or save it to a computer.

Consider using a site that doesn't post your information publicly. Some sites allow anyone to view the content you post on the site; others only allow members or nominated friends to view content. If you want to help protect your information even further, use a site that allows you to protect your information and only give your friends access.

Use the Privacy Settings. Limit what information people can view.

Beware of con artists. Criminals scan social networking sites to find potential victims for all sorts of fraud, for example phoney lotteries, bogus employment, business opportunities and investment fraud.




  • Bebo: popular social networking site in Ireland with the majority of members belonging to the 13-24 year old age bracket. You have to be 13 or over to open an account.
  • Facebook: is a social networking site popular with the 25+ market.
  • Nimble: Irish social networking site.
  • Blog: is short for web log, a blog can be a personal journal or diary,a political debate forum, a breaking news outlet or a collection of links. At its simplest, a blog is a web site, where you write and put information online on an ongoing basis.



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