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Study reveals social media regret

Graeme Parton

There’s no doubt that social media has become the modern-day equivalent of the humble diary. A quick scan through any recently-refreshed newsfeed  is likely to reveal a host of intimate thoughts, controversial opinions and meaningless observations.

The main idea of a conventional diary is that it tends to remain private. This, however, isn’t always the case with Facebook and Twitter. The content published on these sites – depending, of course, on privacy settings – is often there for hundreds, or even thousands, of inquisitive people to see.

It pays to think carefully about what you publish online. Find Law, a U.S.-based legal information firm, conducted a study recently which revealed that more than 25 per cent of those aged 18-34 who regularly use social media sites have, in the past, posted something they feel could have an effect on their professional lives.

One respondent, for example, said:

“I’m going to be a senior in college this year, so employers are definitely looking to see what they can dig up.”

The researchers also found that around 30 per cent of those asked said they regretted posting something on one of their social profiles; 21 per cent admitted to deleting content after thinking it could cost them their jobs and a massive 82 per cent said they pay close attention to the privacy setting sections of their chosen sites.

Another user who had been questioned as part of the survey said:

“I am definitely unsearchable on Facebook. So I don’t think I have any tagged pictures or anything. Privacy is a concern of mine.”

The report certainly highlights one of the biggest issues faced by modern businesses. While one individual may have around 250 friends, a successful brand is likely to have thousands, if not more. Put simply, there’s a lot more at stake for businesses – posts must be professional, concise, relevant and useful. One tiny slip, whether it’s a spelling error or a controversial comment, could be extremely costly – and it can be difficult to recover. This is why so many firms turn to professional content marketing companies to co-ordinate social campaigns.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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