How Not to Embarrass Yourself on Social Media

Although Catholic doctrine considers him the closest to the incarnation of Christ on earth, the Pope is no stranger to human madness. Earlier this week, Pope Francis fell victim to the classic Instagram thirst trap, enjoying a naughty post on Brazilian model Natalia Garibotto’s page.

It’s funny to think of Pope Francis, the celibate man who usually kisses babies and casually scrolls through social media posts about scantily clad women. In truth, it probably wasn’t the eighty-year-old himself; The Pope’s Instagram account, which has 7 million followers, is undoubtedly run by a team of employees, at least one of whom was carelessly turned on when conducting official Vatican affairs this week.

However, there is a lesson to be learned here, whether you are the Pope, a social media manager, a high school student, or anyone else with an interest in keeping face on social media.

Find out which account you’re signed in to

If you maintain a social media account for work, whether you work in a government official’s office or post on behalf of a brand, it is likely that you regularly manipulate both work and personal accounts.

Despite the simplicity of this idea, people post to the wrong accounts all the time, often with disastrous and humiliating consequences. If you don’t want to go down this awkward path, just take a second to double check which account you are using – every time you post, like, or share. Click your profile icon, check your news feed to see if these are accounts you personally follow, and more.

Create a recording device account

Social media is rife with fake accounts, so why not become yours? While you shouldn’t take on a dastardly pseudonym trolling mission, you can always create a fake account if there are things on social media that you love to consume but want to keep secret from your family, friends, and coworkers.

Do you enjoy sparring with sports fans on Twitter about why their team sucks and yours is great? Create an anonymous account. Do you like looking at sexy people who are in sexy positions, but are you a little shy about it? Create an account for recording and swipe your finger across the screen as much as you want.

The burner account does not give you the right to wreak havoc on the network. The Internet has already become a dump of misinformation, racism and brutality; your anonymous profile should rise above this poisonous noise.

Examine your privacy settings and find out how to use them

While user privacy settings won’t stop social media platforms from pumping all trackable data about you, they can help save you from public humiliation.

Unfortunately, if, for example, you “liked” a post on Instagram that you immediately regret, then the same will appear in other users’ notifications even after you quickly try to pick it up. As Lifehacker explained in 2018 , “even if you remove the like right away, it will show up immediately” in the user’s feed, as well as in push notifications if enabled.

However, setting your account to private or restricted will hide your profile from the general public, so you can step back, at least in this minimal sense.

You can learn how user privacy settings work by referring to the teachings in this Lifehacker post , including this helpful tidbit:

If you haven’t already, check out the privacy tools that are available to you on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social networks. We always have an up-to-date Facebook privacy guide , and even services like Twitter and Instagram allow you to keep your shares private so that only people you approve can see. Use these security tools wisely, not only in your posts, but in everything you are tagged on or what your friends post, including you. Personally, I have a whole closed group of friends on an underutilized social network that I use when I really need to get out.

Maybe just log out?

Internet addiction is real , and spending too much time on social media can be detrimental to your mental health for a variety of reasons. It only makes sense that the longer you are online during the day, the more casual about your likes. One powerful plan might be to create a schedule for yourself that limits the amount of time you spend exploring various social feeds and channels.

Read a book, go outside, call your friends or mom. There are so many things more valuable than idle swiping. You don’t have to follow the Pope’s example to understand this.

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