A friend of mine recently started raising the chickens. She put together a fun outdoor dust bath for them and posted a photo of it on Facebook.
Several weeks later, while browsing Pinterest, she came across a photo of her own backyard dust bath. It had been pinned more than 2,200 times.
This, of course, reminded me of a few things we should all be aware of on the Internet.
1. Privacy SettingsÂ It’s important to be aware of your privacy settings when posting on the Internet. Each Internet browser and social media platform has their own unique choices to make. What you’re comfortable with in one place may not be what you’re comfortable with in another. But whatever the choice you make, you should know who can see your content, and how. Now, it’s entirely possible that my friend’s privacy settings are on lock down, which brings us to my next point.
2. Lists and FriendsÂ Even if your privacy settings are air tight and only people who you have approved can see your content, you don’t always know what your friends and contacts are going to DO with your content. One of my friend’s friends may have snagged that photo and posted it Pinterest without her knowledge. This may have been done completely innocently but it certainly changes the content’s reach, and in some ways, negates privacy settings altogether. So, if you’re posting a picture that’s personal, you can always choose to share it only with an even more limited circle of friends and contacts than normal by using lists.
3. It’s the InternetÂ Being on the Internet isn’t inherently bad. But, once content starts to spread, it’s extremely hard to stop it from spreading. You have no idea who will stumble upon your content, why or what they’ll do with it. As always, please don’t ever post your home address online for people to see – watch your photos in particular. The Internet is a great and wonderful place full of clips of the Airband on Scrubs. Still, it’s important not to forget that content you post there is forever and that the Internet is a place frequented by people you don’t know.
Be cautiously optimistic on the Internet, is all I’m saying. Because when your backyard gets repinned 2,200 times on Pinterest without your knowledge, it can help drive these points home.
*Laurel is a personal friend who gave me permission to use her photo.