There has been a lot of attention on online communication lately. Facebook, Twitter, Email, and GChat all make it easy for is to connect with friends and colleagues, but the “just-between-us” nature of in-person conversations and interactions does not exist on the web.
Rule of thumb: If you don’t want something to be public, don’t put it online.
- Avoid #ThatAwkwardMomentWhen you hit Reply All on an email that wasn’t meant for everyone to see. It may seem cumbersome, but if you want to comment privately on a public email thread, copy and paste the the contents of the email into a brand new message and send to your intended recipients. In some email programs, you can move the Reply All button far away from the Reply button to avoid mistakes. If your comment is strictly confidential, speak to the interested parties in person, or better yet, keep it to yourself.
- Don’t say anything online about your job, coworkers, or boss that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying to your colleagues’ faces.
- Use Facebook’s privacy settings. Restrict access to your photo albums, use your friends’ lists, and be selective when confirming friend requests. The site’s options allow you to customize your page for the different groups of people in your life.
- Not everyone is your friend. After a significant amount of time communicating, it may seem as if you can trust someone you met online. But, don’t get caught in a false sense of security. Assume that whatever you send someone may be forwarded to the entire world.
- Twitter is a great tool for rapid response, but it is a public forum. Even tweets from private pages or Direct Messages can be copied, pasted, and broadcasted. Think before you tweet.