Published June 02, 2011
Capitol Hill is both disgusted and downright disturbed by a picture of a bulging, underwear-clad crotch sent to an attractive college student from the Twitter feed of New York Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Weiner, in an interview with Fox News, said, "I know for a fact that my account was hacked."
However the story turns out, it points out the dangers that lurk in social media. So here are five tips to make sure you don't become the Internet's next Weiner:
1. Don't take the picture.
The ready availability of digital cameras in iPhones and laptops means the fun of photography is more accessible than ever. Fortunately, the easiest way to avoid sending an inappropriate photo is simple: DON'T TAKE AN INAPPROPRIATE PHOTO.
2. Don't post the picture.
If you've already broken the first rule, why tell the world?
It's far too easy to send something to the wrong person. And once it's out there, it's all the way out there. Why risk it? Don't share it.
3. Revisit what you've already posted. Now.
Take a few minutes to review pictures and statements you've already made widely public. The odds are good that you've already posted something inappropriate online that others can see. Now is the time to remove those images or comments, before it's too late.
4. Check your security and privacy settings.
While you're checking yourself out -- digitally, that is -- take the time to revisit your privacy settings. Have you set up groups with different levels of access to your Facebook material? Is your Twitter feed public, or protected so that only certain people can read what you write?
5. Don't make jokes.
Rep. Weiner is well known for his sense of humor. At the recent Congressional Correspondent's Dinner, he joked about Speaker of the House John Boehner's last name, saying, "I do the Weiner jokes around here, guys. Really, who is Boehner fooling? Am I Anthony 'Way-ner'? I'm serious, brother, just embrace it."
This Twitter picture may seem funny now. But don't make jokes about it. After all, the next Weiner you see online may be your own. Allegedly.