For creators, big or small, digital reality and actual reality go hand in hand.
There’s no way to know if the person behind a Hello Kitty profile picture means well or is a psychopath. But we do know that our online space is just as valuable to us as our physical space. No matter how hard we try to separate the two, it’s not possible anymore. (Unless you live in a pineapple under the sea.)
Now, don’t let it put you off from creating content and building your brand. There are things that you can do to ensure that you and your social media real estate remain safe online.
How to stay safe online: fundamentals for content creators
8th February 2022 is the 19th edition of Safer Internet Day and the theme this year is “Together for a better internet”.
There are various ways to keep your account safe from harm. We have a whole Cyber Safety Manual to give you an idea of the community guidelines and safety tips around social media. However here, we share 5 ways content creators ( or rather anyone) can be safe online.
✅ What is #SaferInternetDay?
✅ What does it stand for?
✅ How can we all play our part for a better internet?
— Safer Internet Day (@safeinternetday) January 26, 2022
Why is safety important for influencers?
It seems like a no-brainer, but many creators forget to update their safety preferences when they start posting. And as the number of creators increases, so does the number of people who want to cause harm. It can be for any reason. Vendetta, jealousy, or simply extortion.
As a creator, you spend months and years building trust, a reputation, and credibility around yourself. Anything to make your brand stand out and build a community.
Securing your social accounts is part of that effort. It is essential to growing trust with your audiences as well as with potential brands that may want to work with you in the future.
A couple of bad tweets or a hacked Instagram is enough for people to distance themselves from you, and when you’re a full-time creator, this is the last thing you want to happen.
Security isn’t optional. It is the only option for a creator to thrive and make a living online.
The basics of your account security
Let’s get to the basics of internet safety, shall we?
You know how, when you were a child, your mother would tell you not to talk to strangers? Or, how your father would tell you not to take candy from anyone you didn’t know.
Yeah, the good old days, right?
Imagine that, but now for your online space. Repeat after us: DONT. CLICK. ON. THINGS. YOU. DON’T. KNOW. (Wow, that was a mouthful!)
Never click on unsolicited links. Phishing is the oldest trick in the book for hackers. To steal your data, they constantly come up with innovative ways to get you to click on dangerous links.
Sometimes they change their email IDs to resemble authentic ones. But, let’s be honest, we all know Instagram is not going to contact us from an email ID that reads “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Use your best judgement if you think your account is compromised, especially if things aren’t obvious. Also, use your judgement in identifying fake and genuine emails.
Get a password manager and 2FA
It’s 2022 and we should all be using password managers by now.
It’s not your fault that you have used golgappe123 as your password for all your social media and email accounts. We love gol gappe too. But so do hackers.
More accounts mean more passwords to remember. We know how hard it is to keep up, trying to remember each password for each account. So we end up using a common one for most of our accounts.
A big no-no.
Enter, password managers.
All you have to do is remember one master password and the application will do the rest. They suggest new and complicated passwords for all your accounts and are a great way to keep all your accounts safe.
Enabling Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA also helps. If someone tried to log in to your account, not only would they have to guess your password but also the authentication code, which only you would have. Almost every social media website offers this option, so make sure you go through the settings and select it for some extra peace of mind.
Restrict who has access
Handling one social media account is a challenge in itself. But when you are a cross-platform creator, handling many accounts can be tough. You often end up sharing your passwords with your friends, asking them to help out in managing the content or an acquaintance who is starting as a marketing intern.
Please don’t do that if you want to remain safe online.
It creates more touchpoints that are vulnerable for hackers to take advantage of. There are lots of free tools available online that can help manage multiple accounts all at once. We would suggest trying out Buffer and BuzzSumo, but there are a lot more, so choose whichever you feel suits you.
Don’t access public Wi-Fi or hotspots
Sipping coffee in your local café and posting photos of your Pumpkin Spice Latte is all fun and games until you discover that the free Wi-Fi is a haven for people looking to snoop into your devices and syphon your data.
It’s dangerous to your online safety no matter what type of content you access via that Wi-Fi.
When you really have to connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot, try using a VPN. It protects your social account from hackers and keeps your data where it should be: with you.
NordVPN and Tunnel Bear are reliable and trusted, but you can pick whichever one you prefer.
Protect your location at all costs
When you’re in the zone and creativity is flowing, sometimes we end up sharing too much information. It can be a video identifying your locality and where you live, or personal documents like passports or ID cards.
Unfortunately, cyberstalking and cyberbullying are major issues we still deal with, especially so for content creators who have relevance and a social presence.
Every time you think of publishing something online, view and review it a couple of times before posting.
Also, be mindful of the privacy of others. Remember, consent is important if you’re sharing content that has other people in it. Things live forever on the internet and trust us, you will be thanking us in the future.
Stay safe online and keep doing your thng!
We’re moving to an era of the web, where all of us will live in it. So, as a community, we need to come together to make the internet a safe place. For all.
This safe internet day, use the power of your voice as a content creator to make it a better and most honest place on earth. So, we can all keep creating and doing our thing!