On social and community web sites, including forums and chat rooms, it is sometimes difficult to remember that what you post is visible for all the world to view.
Messages you post to any public community forum is available for anyone to view, copy, and store. Most public postings made on the Internet are archived by search engines (ie. Google). Thus, on the Internet, your public messages can be accessed by anyone at anytime -- even years after the message was originally written. Before you post a message to a public forum, ask yourself if want an employer or family member to be able to read your posting in years to come.
It is possible to participate on community sites, like HealingWell, and stay safe and protect your privacy. Here are a few guidelines:
- Never post or give out personal contact information (ie. offline address, phone numbers, etc.). Do you really want people you do not know to know your home address or personal phone number?
- Don't post your email address in the public forums. This is easily harvested by spammers and others. You can display it in your profile to be viewable by other members, if you wish, but they still may be potentially used by spammers. Email addresses in profiles are hidden by default.
- Do not use your "real" first and last name for your Display Name or in your posts. You can change your Display Name in the Control Panel if you are logged in. The goal is to remain anonymous, especially when sensitive health information is concerned. You do not know if your future employer will "Google" your name and come across posts.
- Be Discreet. Be careful about what other personal details about your life that you may share online that may make you "less anonymous". Do you really want a future employer or health insurance company knowing about your personal health history?
Peter Waite, Founder/Editor
HealingWell.com - Community, Information, Resources