Plan of Attack: Making Social Media, social again.

In this five-part series we will now examine each step in our introductory social media guide.  This week we are examining the first step, which is to have a social media policy.

You need to have concrete rules that you know you will not break.  It is especially important to have a social media policy if you have children.  So let’s start there.

Child Social Media Policy

Monitor All Mobile Activity:  The first step in a child social media policy is establishing at the outset that you will monitor the smart phone and all of its apps weekly.  You should set and keep all passwords and logins required by each app.  In fact, you should be the only one to change them.  Be sure to follow up and monitor your child’s activity as often as you can.

Review Friends and Connections:  Review and revisit all social media friends, followers and connections.  Look at the profile of the friend; then look at who the friend follows and how they interact.  While the dangers of a child predator is a great danger, so is an antisocial child/adolescent with violent and abusive tendencies.  Social media offers us a track record of the interactions of an individual and can be quite helpful in determining who should be your child’s friend online and in real life.  It can also help us to determine the interests of children who come into your child’s life.

Distinguish the Virtual: Also, it is a good idea to determine among those friends who is actually a friend the child knows in real life and who is a virtual acquaintance.  Many children have been lured by virtual friends who they’ve never met until a sad meeting at a seedy motel in another state by a child predator pretending to be a teen.

Set Rules: Give your child a “family list” of do’s and don’ts on social media.  This is important to keep your child safe.  Be sure that they know them, memorize them and have the list tacked to the wall, refrigerator, or a bulletin board.  Go over the rules at least once every three months in a “family meeting.” Be sure your children understand and comply.  Also be sure there are consequences to breaking those rules to deter further infractions.

Adult Social Media Policy

Many people think that just because they are adults and they are not at work, they do not need a social media policy.  Not so.  As an adult you especially need a social media policy, because you will likely encounter the most people across a wider spectrum of people.

Your Social Brand: Consider your social media interactions as a part of your personal brand. Ask a friend or relative look through your social media and tell you their impressions.  This will help you understand better how you come across on social media.  Having your social media appraised annually by a friend, family member or professional is a good idea.  Winston Media Concepts offers an inexpensive report for just $12 for non-professional social media.

Privacy is Dead:  Even if your social media is hidden, do not assume that your information is always private.  Information can be downloaded, photographed or screen shot by savvy users.  Many lacking professionalism or a moral compass will often share and screen shot private chats and texts.  Nefarious people also lurk on line to net  unsuspecting users for scams, personal vendetta, political agenda, or worse. Your privacy is your baby to protect.

Catfish Friends: Carefully choose how you interact online. Long distance or protracted conversations online without meeting in real life can be dangerous.   You need to be aware of the fact that there are scores of people who log on to scam.  So try to make a few hard fast rules on what you will and will not do.  Try these:

Rules of Engagement:

1.  Do not post private information about your immediate location, personal residence financials or family details.

2.  Do not develop personal relationships with people on social media which you have not met.  Make sure your interactions remain platonic and do not overshare personal details about family, finance and locations.

3.  Do not go online if you are in an altered state.  If you are depressed, lonely, angry or feeling other negative or vulnerable emotions it is best not to log on. Social media is not a substitute for therapy, prayer or time alone.

4.  Do not share nudes and be careful how you interact.  Your information can be photographed, screenshot or downloaded–even voice messages and texts.

5.  Manage your social media as a brand.  Remember the totality of your posts, interactions and shares equates to your personal brand.

6.  Privacy is never guaranteed.

If you have any questions about your own social media or formulating a social media policy for your employees, contact me.  You may also take advantage of the $12 personal social media report today.