Thanks to social media, we live our entire lives in public view.
Even though that’s been normalized, there are still some things that you should keep private. Here are 15 of the most important.
1. The Exact Details of Your Upcoming Vacation
Nothing says, “Hey, rob my house” like a proud post about an upcoming vacation. You may think you’re just sharing your excitement over an upcoming week of living like you’re in a Jimmy Buffett song.
Criminals see that, though, and their eyes turn into dollar signs. It’s basically telling the whole world that no one will be at your house for a week straight.
Hard as it may be, keep your vacation plans to yourself. If you must, you can share them with close friends in person or on the phone, but keep that sensitive info off the internet. You never know who might be watching or what bad intentions they might have.
2. Your Personal Location
This one goes hand in hand with the previous rule about vacation. When you let the whole world know that you’re not at home, you’re just asking for a break-in. It’s like holding a garage sale where you don’t collect any money for your stuff.
It’s weird that people really want everyone to know exactly where they are and what they’re doing at all times, but there are plenty of folks lining up to take advantage of the trend.
Don’t be a victim. Disable your location tracker!
3. That’s true of geotagged images, too.
You don’t necessarily have to share your location to share your location, if you know what we mean. Some apps track your personal location at all times, then add that information to your pictures.
That’s another great way to tell every weirdo on the internet that your home is open and your stuff is free for the taking.
4. Videos of Your Friends That You Took Without Permission
Our cell phones are always in our hands, and its tempting to film or take snapshots of everything we see. That’s fine, but if you go around posting stuff without the permission of the people depicted, you can get yourself in trouble.
If you really want to share a hilarious pic of your friend doing the entire Hoedown Throwdown, just make sure you get permission first. Your friends may not want that stuff online.
5. Pictures of Your Credit Cards
Okay, yes, this seems obvious, but it happens. We’ve all seen those pictures that are captioned, “I got my first credit card today!”
Just in case you’re tempted to post something like that, you should know that anyone who has your credit card number and the expiration date can order pretty much anything they want on your dime. It’s just asking for identity theft.
6. Stuff Your Friends Should Really Be Sharing Themselves
It’s exciting when your friend comes out of the closet or tells you that they’re getting married or expecting a baby. Don’t let that excitement make you do something thoughtless, though.
Your friend’s big news is just that: your friend’s. It’s not your place to share that news with your entire friend group. Let your friend share her news herself when and how she chooses to. She’ll appreciate it.
7. Inappropriate Personal Images
Social media is no place for your secret selfies. You might keep a special collection for your girlfriend or boyfriend, but if you don’t want your grandmother seeing them, they shouldn’t go on social media.
Actually, that’s a pretty good guideline in general. Only post things you wouldn’t mind your grandmother seeing. That will save you a lot of grief, whether it’s your grandma who stumbles across your posts, a parent, or an employer. Use your best judgement!
8. Bank Information
You’ve already learned not to post pictures of debit or credit cards on social media, but what about a bank balance to show that you just got a big old raise?
It’s still not a good idea. Every kernel of information can help hackers steal your identity and gain access to your accounts. Don’t give them any help. Just keep your finances to yourself, online and off.
9. Complaints About Your Boss
It can be really tempting to vent about your horrible boss on social media. There’s just one problem with that. Things take on lives of their own when they end up on the internet.
Even if your boss doesn’t have access to your posts, a jealous coworker could screenshot your complaints and share them with your boss. That can get awkward fast. It can even cost you your job.
Just do what people have been doing since time immemorial and complain around the water cooler in hushed tones. It’s safer.
10. Political Tirades
It’s one thing to share your convictions on social media. It’s another to spout off with a long, poorly researched post about a political subject that you don’t actually know anything about.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t post political content on social media. You totally should. We’re just saying that before you post, make sure you’ve done the research. Otherwise, the opposition is going to tear your argument to pieces, and they might take your reputation along with it.
11. Off-Color Jokes
One person’s funny is another person’s offensive. Be sensitive to your readers when you post on social media. Don’t make jokes that are too adult, and certainly don’t post anything that could be construed as bigoted or misogynistic.
Apply the grandmother test. Is this a joke you would share with your grandma (or anyone else’s)? If not, don’t put it online. That’s just being respectful, which is more important than ever given our current social media landscape.
12. Fights With Your Significant Other
Public forums are definitely not the place to score points on your partner when you’re in a fight. Think about it. Eventually the fight will end, and you’ll want to get back to normal with your S.O.
That’s a lot harder to do when you’ve humiliated them publicly through social media. It’s best to keep those little lovers’ quarrels private, which means you don’t discuss them on social media.
13. Party Pics
Remember the grandmother test? Now imagine that your grandma and your future boss are both looking at the same computer. If your post would upset your grandma, it would probably also keep you from getting the job of your dreams.
Have all the fun you want, but keep it contained. You don’t want prospective employers knowing everything you do on a Saturday night. The best way to keep them from finding out is not to share that information in the first place.
14. Selfies in Sacred or Serious Places
We’ve all heard about the vapid millennials taking selfies at Auschwitz. Do not be that person.
Other places you probably shouldn’t be snapping selfies include funerals, places of worship, and cemeteries. Those places call for respectful behavior. Making these places all about your smiling face is a mistake, and it’s one that you’re sure to get called out on if you post pictures like this on social media.
15. Unsubstantiated Accusations
Social media is a powerful tool for outing wrongdoers within their own communities. That doesn’t mean you should reprint and share every sordid rumor you hear about someone you barely know.
Choosing to share an accusation on social media is an incredibly serious act. Think long and hard before you decide to use social media this way. If you’re wrong, you could destroy someone’s reputation needlessly. People don’t tend to take very kindly to that.