When I'm helping a client to build their online reputation, one of the key tools at our disposal is social network sites - you know the ones: Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Alongside concerns about how to keep the profile 'professional', the next most common concern clients have is about privacy and fraud, so I was pleased to find a post on microsoft.com listing 10 very useful tips on how to use these sites safely.
For me, one of the key points highlighted by the post is that often we'll let our guard down on a social networking site, and do things that we would never do if we were looking at an email instead.
I know that whenever someone sends me an 'app' on Facebook I find myself thinking long and hard when I see the line that says 'you agree to grant the creator of the application access to your profile information'. At the end of the day, you have no idea who exactly that 'creator' is, what information they will grab from your profile or what they'll do with it.
Similarly, there are two ways to treat your network on these sites. One approach says 'only link to people you know, like and trust in the real world'. The other says 'go for the widest network possible, because it'll help you reach the most people possible'. Over the years I've oscillated between the two, and now the advice I give clients is that if the site carries some implication of endorsement or professional affiliation,for example LinkedIn, then think carefully about who you're linking to: would you recommend them in real life?
The post is here.