Texas Tech University

Social Media

When you share and post online, it is critical that you think before you post, tag, retweet, comment, forward, or send! WWW – worldwide web – means that the whole wide world can potentially be your online audience. Be aware that information you post can be used to steal your identity, and may be used to target you or your loved ones in other dangerous ways.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other up-and-coming social media platforms have changed the way reputations are made – and broken. First impressions are no longer made face-to-face. With billions of people using social media, it is important to be aware of your online reputation and to actively manage it. Social networking has created amazing opportunities for connections, but it must be used responsibly.

Just because an online post or picture is deleted, doesn't mean that it is gone. Once something is in cyberspace, it is there forever. It is possible for other people who see it to take a screenshot or to save it for themselves. Inappropriate posts or pictures can certainly come back to haunt you.


  • Choose your friends/followers carefully. People who view your online profile could judge you based on your friends and followers. Be cautious about accepting a friend request from someone you have not met face-to-face
  • Have a reason for posting or commenting. Ask yourself: Why am I posting this? Is this something that will add value to my online reputation? Think about what you are about to share with the entire online community
  • Remember your audiences. Many relationships – such as family members, employers, co-workers, customers and friendships– can be affected by our online actions and words
  • Consider what others will think about your post. Realize that they will interpret what they see or read from their own point of view and with their own knowledge base
  • Use a strong password, at least 8 random characters with a mixture of upper and lower case and special characters
  • Keep your social media account password separate from other accounts you have, especially for your main email, banking, credit card, and investments accounts
  • Understand and keep up with changes in privacy settings. Social media sites are constantly changing their policies and creating new privacy tools. Customize your personal privacy settings. Many social media sites allow you to customize your settings with different levels of privacy for different audiences
  • Talk about online safety with your friends and family. Be digital role models for others who are online


  • Share confidential or sensitive information. Driver's license or any form of ID has valuable information that can be used by identity thieves. Even pictures with your house number or address can be used by stalkers or other Internet criminals
  • Share vacation plans or photos while you are gone. Sharing posts or pictures advertises that you are away, making your house more vulnerable to burglars
  • Post illegal or excessive activities, including age-inappropriate activities. Law enforcement officials can gather information, such as pictures, from social media sites and it can be used as evidence
  • Post negative comments. The message will eventually get back to the person or organization that you made the negative comment about. It's called the World Wide Web for a reason – because the whole wide world will see what you share
  • Post material that might be considered offensive. You need to understand and weigh the risks and consequences of sharing thoughts and ideas that might be considered offensive, or is a sensitive or political subject
  • Threaten violence to individuals, organizations, or yourself. Law enforcement officials take these threats very seriously. You should not joke about these types of actions
  • Share information that isn't yours to share, including copyrighted material. Since mobile devices have cameras and video capabilities, it is very easy to share information about other people and have your information shared. Before posting something about someone else, ask yourself if you would want someone to share that information about you