We’ve all had a bad photo show up on social media now and then. Sometimes, it’s not so bad: an I-look-fat-in-that photo can be quickly removed. Other times, it really is the end of the world. Social media has ruined the lives and careers of far too many people, and it often happens while people are on vacation. More often than not, our social media problems are brought on by our own stupid texting thumbs. Next time you’re on vacation, make sure to stay safe and happy by thinking before you post.
If in doubt, don’t post!
Have you ever heard a little voice in the back on your head telling you not to post something, and then done it anyway? In my experience, this usually leads to less than stellar results. If something tells you not to post it, don’t do it! Listen to the little voice.
If you don’t want your boss or clients to see it, don’t post! There have been plenty of people who have lost jobs because of poorly chosen Facebook photos. Many colleges vet their potential athletes by checking on social media to see who follows drinking and drug laws. And teachers, you certainly don’t want you students to see you getting hammered at a club! If someone in your professional sphere is your social media friend, think twice before posting compromising photos or updates.
If it puts you at risk, don’t post!
Not everyone in your social media circle is really your “friend.” Often, it can be hard to tell the difference between friend and fiend, so be smart. Don’t give away your location online. Event invites are a horrible idea, because it lets strangers on the web know when you’ll be somewhere, and when your house might be empty. Or worse, where to go if they want to do you harm. If the circumstances don’t seem safe, message the event admin rather than RSVP’ing where everyone can see.
Even more importantly, don’t let the world know when you’re on vacation. A general statement announcing your departure for two weeks provides the perfect opportunity for people to break into your house. In fact, many people wait until after vacation to post their photos so that unsavory characters don’t get a hint as to when to loot you. It may seem overkill, but better safe than sorry.
While you’re at it – make sure you don’t take selfies that can put you in danger. Tourists seem to have no awareness of the dangers of wild animals, moving vehicles, or even the laws of physics and gravity.
If it could be humiliating, don’t post!
Drunken boat parties, revealing clothing, PDA – all of these things can happen on vacation, and they really don’t belong on your feed. When you sober up, go home, and see your grandma, you might be embarrassed by what you shared with the world. Or maybe you’re not embarrassed by it at all. But what about the other people in your life? Your friends and family might die a little inside because of a thoughtless post. I know a woman who constantly posts about her sexiness and singlehood. Her teenage son is perpetually mortified by photos and memes that even his high school friends know better than to share. Don’t be that mom, sibling, boyfriend, or whatever.
If it is disrespectful, don’t post it!
I know that tourist in the too-tight Hawaiian shirt is just asking to be the next Bad Luck Brain. But think about how you would feel if others made fun on you while you are trying to relax! Be sure to treat locals with respect, too. Taking photos of people who don’t want to be on your social media is a mild form of exploitation. If it doesn’t honor someone, then it shouldn’t be on your Instagram. Ask before taking photos of people, and don’t snap pictures when people are obviously bothered by it.
Posting vacation plans and photos to social media can be stupid, embarrassing, even dangerous. Follow these tips to avoid these common mistakes and stay safe. If you follow these rules of thumb, you should be just fine when it comes to social media posts. What do you think? Is this a bit paranoid, or not safe enough? Let us know in the comments!