By Pamela D. Wilson, The Care Navigator, CSA, CG, MS, BS/BA
My niece recently posted questionable information on the internet that appeared on my Facebook page because we were friends; after reading the content I immediately and secretly “un-friended” her. I didn’t want the information in her post to appear on my page with readers assuming I approved of her conduct. Maybe I’ve become prudish in my old age, but I believe there are too many posts that simply provide too much information and photographs that belong only in a private photo album rather than on the eternal library of the internet.
That being said having a virtual life connects us to others in ways that can be beneficial, preserve relationships and be time efficient. While I’d never think of making a phone call to a friend at 10 o’clock at night, I might send an email letting them know I’m thinking about them that they’ll receive the next morning. Networking sites like LinkedIn are great for connecting with business colleagues and keeping track of the whereabouts of colleagues in our industry, who as most of us know, continually change employers and positions. Facebook is a great vehicle for tracking down long lost grade school, high school and college buddies and if you’re a business for creating a group of friends and supporters.
But, let’s not forget that information we post is also used by potential employers, internet predators and thieves who might find it very interesting that you’re posting vacation photos on Facebook. Might you NOT be home? What a great way to let burglars know that NOW is the perfect time to break into your home.
Recently several online email provider accounts were hacked. How many of you have received emails from friends through Yahoo that you eventually realized were SPAM sent from some annoying hacker in Russia or Australia. It can be challenging to know which emails to open and which emails to delete. My advice, change your passwords often and don’t make them easy to decipher. Use capital and lower case letters, number and symbols that are at least 8-10 characters. Don’t use the name of your spouse, your children or your pets especially if you you’ve shared this information elsewhere on the internet. Protect your virtual life as you do your physical life and keep private information private.
Then there’s the items we collect and purchase online. What about I-tunes, downloaded books, online games and family photo albums. What happens to these when we die if we don’t leave a list of passwords accessible somewhere? Imagine how many personal online accounts exist of persons now deceased. This is an issue for online companies and lawyers to settle. But at least for now take care to protect your virtual life and enjoy connecting with business colleagues and friends. Connect with The Care Navigator on Facebook.
©2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.