With the ability to check email, access information in real time and post pictures to Instagram, we probably all think we’re pretty smart phone savvy. Don’t be fooled, you can still make dumb decisions on your mobile device.
Social media on mobile devices is now more common than wheels on a car. Because of increased convenience and ease of use, people are now, more than ever, more likely to post and view shared photos, ideas, videos and lifestyles all via their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine or whichever medium they choose to use. Now, not all of what is posted is important and personally, I couldn’t care less about what you ate for breakfast or how your kitten can fit inside yet another cardboard box. However, your photos from your crazy weekend at the lake house may be a little bit more interesting, especially to your current employer. With the ease of access and a high volume of media, there is one big question consumers are asking: “Is my content private?”
Although seemingly paranoid, a good rule of thumb is that virtually anything and everything you choose to post on the Web can and will be found. Social media apps may appear to be safe and secure; however, they don’t guarantee confidentiality. When it comes to mobile security there is none better than good old fashioned common sense. Before posting anything on a social media app, stop. Think. Ask yourself, “Would my grandmother be offended if she saw or read this? Is this something my employer would approve of? Is this behavior or action or thought something that I will stand by?”
Even apps that claim to be secure have ways of falling through. For example, Snapchat is a photo sharing app with which one can share photos and brief videos that are deleted immediately after viewing. Apparently safe, users feel more confident to send rather promiscuous and sometimes incriminating photos. While the app does delete the photos, it is possible for the viewer to take a screen shot on their own mobile device and capture the photo indefinitely. Although Snapchat warns the user that a screen shot has been taken, he or she has no control over who took the screen shot and what they intend to do with it. Most recently, these screen shots have been leaked onto the internet for all to see. Even scarier, hackers have also revealed that supposedly deleted Snapchats can be uncovered with enough digital digging.
In light of the all this news, the choice is yours alone. Be smarter than your smart phone. As much as these mobile devices have opened a world of information and connectivity, don’t let your guard down when sharing pictures or information on social networks. Just as your parents always seemed to catch you sneaking out at night, social media can be equally, if not more, efficient at catching you with your pants down, literally.
James Nixon is an intern for Airfoil, a high-tech PR and marcomm firm with offices in Silicon Valley and Detroit.