Online social networking no-no’s

(originally posted by The American Observer on March 7, 2007)

We all know that social networking on the World Wide Web is a fun way to communicate with friends and meet new people. But, on the Web, there are no take backs.

1. Never announce a new relationship

You may want to tell everyone how much you love your new beau, but when that relationship ends, there’s nothing more embarrassing than having to live with an online reminder of what was and what could have been. If you’re changing your relationship status every time you log on, stop! Publish few pictures of you and your mate, respond to your friends’ comments about the relationship in private messages, and avoid exchanging public love letters with your sweetheart.

2. Never announce the end of a relationship

Let’s face it, there’s nothing like getting revenge on your ex by changing your relationship status from “In a Relationship” to “Single,” changing your favorite song from Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” to Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” and replacing the old lovey-dovey pictures of you and your former beloved with raunchy pictures of you and a nameless hot-body. But, when the anger leaves — and it will — you’ll realize that you’ve only made yourself look bad and that your ex will probably not even care half as much as you expected.

3. Never post your cell phone number

While social networking sites are great places to keep in touch, it’s not a great place for personal contact information. Despite privacy settings, there’s no telling who may have access to your profile. Someone you don’t know may have access to your friends’ accounts, a high-tech hacker may figure out a way to bypass your security settings, or who knows? You don’t want to end up having to change your number because of random late-night phone calls from an unwanted online admirer.

4. Never announce a new goal that you may not reach

It may be tempting to tell the world that you’re trying to lose 10 pounds by Spring Break, but if you end up putting on a few pounds by the time you’re on your way to Cancun, you’ll have to live with sideways glances and not-so-quiet whispers from even your closest of friends. It is much better to quietly pursue a goal and tell everyone the good news once you’ve accomplished it.

5. Never announce random hook-ups

A one-night stand is just that — a one-night stand. But on the Web, the sordid affair can last much longer if you post pictures. It may tarnish your reputation, or even worse, ruin your chances of having future random hook-ups because you’ve ruined the anonymity of it all.

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