Are you afraid of Facebook and other social networks?

Apparently, if you are a manager, the answer is yes.  If you're someone updating your status and telling people your home will be unoccupied (and ripe for a burglery) the answer is no.

Two studies were recently released and I find the results ironic.

We're afraid

Though 70% of US marketing, management and HR executives say they plan to increase social-media use at their companies, more than 80% say  they are concerned about the risks, and many do not have policies or training in place to avert reputation mishaps or lost productivity,  according to a study by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law.

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The graph shows that we're at the "I'm afraid but don't know what to do stage."   Further proof that most business leaders are still in the dark when it comes to social media.  They have heard enough to suggest they should be afraid, but they don't know how to create policies or educate their employees.

Look at the opportunity this presents.  Are you in a position to help your company think through a smart, rational social media policy?  Could you offer to do some SM 101 training for not only your co-workers but your senior management team as well?

Seems like a way to contribute and get noticed for doing so.

On the other hand….

We're not afraid

As we blithely tell people we're headed out for dinner or that two week vacation to Maui, we assume that everyone who is seeing that update is a "friend." 

The truth is…we're giving away vital information about ourselves and our whereabouts that is potentially being used by professional burglars to establish a list of targets, according to a new report from UK insurer Legal & General.

“The Digital Criminal” report, which was prepared with assistance from reformed burglar Michael Fraser, found that nearly 38% of users of sites such as Facebook and Twitter have posted status updates detailing their holiday plans and one-third (33%) have posted status updates saying that they are away for the weekend.

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The study goes on to say that certain types of "updaters" are more likely targets.  Are you a “Chatterbox,” “Loner,” or “Holiday Snapper?”

The Digital Criminal report (pdf) is available free for download. It  details the personality types that burglars will target online, offers advice on the type of information that is potentially valuable to a burglar, and provides tips to social media network users to help safeguard privacy.

It seems to me that when we should be cautious and concerned, we're not.  And when we let ignorance cloud our opinions, we are overly so.

More reminders that this brave new frontier is in its infancy.

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