You’ve done it. You’ve graduated at last. Your whole life is in front of you. Now is the time to make plans, embrace the world, take responsibility, make a statement, do some good and make this place better than how you found it.
And this should go without saying, but please don’t be stupid.
I’m not preaching here; the fact is I am fully qualified to discuss this topic because every day when I wake up, I tell myself, “Today I’m not going to say something stupid.” But, being human, I often do or say stupid stuff. However, rarely do I make it public online.
Listen. I know it’s hard. I know you can’t help yourself. I know you think you know everything and I know you are telling me to shut up. But in the words of the lovely and talented Fire Marshal Bill: “LET ME TELL YA SOMETHING!”
What you say, do, post, like and even whom you friend on social networks will affect every moment of your life going forward. Social is the new norm, and even adults are guilty of the stupidity of putting something online that gets them busted.
With graduation coming and millions of you getting ready to enter the workforce, you need to be aware of what is and isn’t appropriate in the professional world. While many employers expect that their employees will maintain social media profiles and even support work initiatives via those channels, as a new grad, you need to be aware that your missteps in social media could taint your employer’s image and damage your professional reputation. When people do not use good judgment when posting and share the wrong content with the wrong people, they can jeopardize their careers.
According to McAfee’s Love, Relationships and Technology study, 13.7% of millenials (18-24 year olds) know someone who was fired because of personal images or messages that had been publicly posted and 13% of adults have had their personal content leaked to others without their permission
It’s time to face the facts.
- Don’t deny this fact: YOU ARE BEING JUDGED EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY BY PEOPLE WHO ARE IN A POSITION TO HIRE AND FIRE YOU.
- Don’t do that! Learn from other people’s mistakes. When you see someone get in trouble, fired or arrested, DON’T DO THAT.
- Don’t friend people you don’t know. You have 3ooo friends? Seriously?
- Don’t take or allow others to photograph/video you with alcohol in your hands, drinking, smoking, doing anything illegal, scantily clad (or less) or making those stupid selfie fishy faces. You are an adult now.
- Don’t like, share or retweet racist, homophobic or off-color media or comments that make you look like a jerk.
- Don’t swear. EVER. It’s OK to say flippin’, freakin’, heck, maybe even effing, and shite. But once you start dropping F bombs, you look like an angry, uncouth juvenile delinquent. And seriously, I swear like cage match fighter—but not online. And I don’t care what your privacy settings are.
- Don’t log on while amorous or inebriated. Nothing good can come of that. Revenge porn anyone?
- Don’t ever talk about anyone in authority—your boss, coworkers, teachers, students, the president or anyone, for that matter—in a negative tone. Seriously. Unless the person is a serial killer or oppressive dictator, play nice.
- Don’t be so public. Lock down your settings. Most social networks have privacy settings that need to be administered at the highest level. Default settings generally leave your networks wide open to attack.
- As Howard Stern’s dad used to say to him: “I told you not to be stupid, you moron.”
You have been warned.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.