7 Tips for Game-Winning Social Media | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

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7 Tips for Game-Winning Social Media

The Super Bowl is approaching, but if you’re not careful, it’s you who’s gonna get played. Social media is a field with no refs—hackers and identity thieves are waiting on the sidelines to sack you.

We're so used to living our lives online that we forget to make a game plan for keeping our personal information safe. Here are some helpful tips to keep you in the game:

1. Steer Clear of a Pass(word) Interference

The biggest way to fumble is to have the same passwords for all of your social media. Look, I get it. Six different accounts are hard to manage. But do you know what’s harder to manage? A hundred concerned texts asking about why you’ve joined a raspberry juice pyramid scheme. Choices.

Using the same password makes it easier for hackers to tackle all of your accounts at once. All Pitt students, faculty, and staff have access to Pitt Password Manager (LastPass), which you can use to generate and store unique passwords. That way, you only have to remember one master key, and your login info stays secure.

2. Keep Your Plans in the Playbook

Your friends will be ok if they have to wait an extra week to comment on your family vaycay pics, so wait for prime time to post photos of your whereabouts. When you give real-time updates, you’re broadcasting your exact location. When you post that you’re out of town, you’re basically saying: “Hello, I am far away from my very empty house—please pay it a visit!”

3. Check Out Who’s in Your Huddle

I hate to break it to you, but the clock is ticking on your rise to influencer stardom. You’re going to have to adjust your privacy settings. Don’t let random accounts follow you for clout—verify that they are legit before accepting follow requests. Remember that when someone has access to your page, they can find out tons of facts about you—where you live, your birthday, who your family and friends are, etc. Keep details like contact info, address, and birthday off of your profiles to protect against identity theft.

4. Call an Audible on Your Logins

Tons of apps and websites let you log in with your Facebook account. Juke out this option to avoid account turnovers. To see and manage what apps are already synced up, go to your Facebook webpage and complete a Privacy Checkup. For an extra line of defense, create a separate email to use for logging into your social media and other sites. That way, if one of them is hacked, they can’t access the data in your personal email too.

5. Build Up Your Defensive Line

Download security software to bulk up your devices. Through the Pitt Software Download Service, you can get free antivirus and anti-malware software. Stay in the loop and update your lineup of apps—sometimes updates include new security features. Most social media platforms now have the option to set up multifactor authentication. With your two-point conversion activated, whoever logs into your account will have to verify it’s you with another device before getting in.

6. Sweep Your Feed for Offensive Holding

Facebook is a link trap. Who’s your celebrity look-a-like? What does your star sign say about your aromatherapy needs? 30 pictures of rescue animals the moment they realize they’re being adopted. Endless links to information you didn’t even know you needed to know. Stay focused. Don’t go to a website with a weird URL or one that you’ve never been to before, and avoid clicking on too-good-to-be-true ads. If an account sends you a spammy message, don’t click any links! Block the account, and report it. That way, the hacker can’t complete a trick play on anyone else, either.

7. Don't Run Into an Automatic First Down

Once you post something, it can be out there forever, even if you delete it. Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want your mother (or future employers) to see. Remember, it’s ok to ask your friends to take down something about you from their page. Consider deleting old posts that are no longer relevant, and review photos that you’re tagged in. Remember you call the shots—prevent your most embarrassing moments from being on the highlight reel for the next couple decades!

Get your head in the game and use these tips to block out unwanted spectators!

- By Tabitha Barnes, Pitt Student IT Blogger

PS – Pitt IT is not responsible for excessive pun usage in online or printed materials.