The interesting problem of social snooping…
My Amazon author page!!!!

I have an interesting fear/security question in my inbox. A dear friend (pre-IT days so also a long time friend) sent me an email. I’ve been his IT guy for more than 25 years. He noticed a number of former co-workers were looking at his Linkedin profile.

It is an interesting problem and one that bears some thought. My initial response to him was the typical new age social response. Don’t put anything on your social pages that you wouldn’t say in person or wouldn’t say ever. He asked me what I meant by that. I thought about it for awhile the other night and this morning I sent him a reply with the following what shouldn’t be on social media guidelines.

Never post that you are going on vacation, until after you are home. Save the moment by moment pictures until you get back. There are people that watch social media sites just to see when other people are on vacation. That way there isn’t anybody in their house, and breaking in is a lot easier.

  • Set-up rules and stick to them for when you include names. I include names when I am reviewing a product, receive lousy customer service or receive exceptional customer service. Sadly there are few of the last blogs but that is a different issue.
  • Never say anything about a specific person that is in any way derogatory. Seriously. You can delete it, but people remember nasty posts.
  • Check your public profile. It may not be what you want to share with people that aren’t connected to you.

The reality is that there are a growing number of people in the not social at all category and they simply do not even have on-line profiles. There are a growing number in the minimalist movement. They post only the least possible information to connect with people that know them but no more.

Social Snooping is something that in the end can damage the second party. The snoopy as it were. The snooper on most sites can even appear anonymous so you don’t even know who is snooping and who is simply trying to figure out if they know you.

The largest social site doesn’t even tell you who has viewed your profile. The largest business site will tell you but as stated above not everyone is required to reveal their identity. It is hard at times to evaluate if someone is in fact snooping.

So you go back to the three rules and stick to them. If you blog, post your rules every quarter or so (I do – it helps keep them fresh in the readers minds). The most thing about social media is the reality of the tipping point.

We are near that tipping point. Either Social Media becomes part of the day to day communications structure of the world we are in. Or it fades away and the next big thing comes along.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.