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When it first launched, social media was a fun place to share photos, jokes, frustrations, thoughts, and milestones. There was a belief that what you posted on your online profiles or timelines was only distributed to friends, family, and those contacts with whom you chose to share. Today, however, as social media permeates all aspects of our personal and professional lives, what you post online can have serious and lasting consequences. As such, you should be very careful with what you share online especially as the Nigerian election.

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Your tweet can land you in police net

The unbridled freedom that many people have on social media have prompted them to tweet and post whatever they like. From direct abuse to fake news, they distribute them online and this has caused concerns among security agencies. And this has prompted them to monitor tweets and social media posts. You are almost guaranteed that they will up the ante as the election is a few days away. Hence, if you do not want to find yourself in the police net, be careful with what you tweet this election.

Nothing is private

For years, rumours circulated online that Facebook and other sites would make your social data public. While this has yet to be seen, it is important to know that everything you post, share, comment on, and promote online can easily be made available to the public. How? We can take a screenshot of your social media post or image, and we can “share” a post if we are friends or are connected to you online. While you might believe you are sharing your content only with close friends, remember that if you type it into an electronic device, you have made it accessible to others.

Your friends all have friends

You have heard from colleagues who believe they have “locked down” their privacy settings. While the effort is admirable, it does not fail proof. Online social media sites are constantly upgrading and updating their privacy settings, sometimes making it easier for your contacts or “friends of friends” to access your information and share with their networks.

Content has a longer shelf-life

The days of SnapChat images disappearing after a few seconds are gone. Screenshot images, sharing posts, and the enhanced archiving features of many social media sites now make it possible to save your content for many generations to come. Someone with the right tools and some time on their hands can access those old posts you shared from high school.

Your posts are searchable

Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have enhanced their search features to promote trending topics and issues. This means that your content has become more searchable by a greater number of people inside, and out of, your network, enhancing the opportunity for something you thought was long gone to suddenly resurface.

Not all jokes are funny

You might think you are the funniest person you know, but when an online “joke” falls on the wrong audience, it can offend and hurt them. If this were to happen in person, you’d likely apologize for the offence and hope the mistake is forgotten over time. When this happens online, the recipient may not comment directly to you, but could share your insensitivity with their connections and friends and create a public outcry of rage over your “joke.” Before you know it, you could have a reputation crisis on your hands.

Employers are looking online

Statistics show that more and more employers are verifying and evaluating their current employees based on their social media profiles. Whether they are assessing your growth potential in the company, or your viability to stay in your current job, your manager or supervisor may be watching what you post online. For instance, if you claim to be the nurturing type and your employer sees you attacking contacts online, they might question your leadership skills.

Your reputation is your greatest asset

As your develops, your reputation becomes your greatest selling point. You will have ample opportunities to express your values, beliefs, and service through in person and online conversations and behaviour. If your activities online go against what you tell in person, the people around you could lose trust in you, thus limiting the opportunities you have in the future.

By Damilola Faustino

Read also: 7 Tips To Prepare You For The Upcoming Elections

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