When you are signing up for social networks such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc they often give you an opportunity to “find friends”. See the screenshot below for Facebook. If you enter your email credentials (whether work or personal) it will allow the site access to your contact list. In the case of Linkedin we are currently seeing a large amount of “referral” emails being sent to users throughout the district as people have been signing up and using the “find friends” option.
I’d ask you to consider three things when signing up with social networks:
- When you give out your email credentials (email + password) to a service to find friends, it has full access to your contacts list (I’d strongly suggest not sharing your work contact list as it likely contains parents and colleagues)
- If you are using a social network for personal reasons, you should be using a personal email account (not your school district email as it is not private). Yahoo, Google (gmail), Microsoft (hotmail, live) offer free email accounts. If you are paying an internet service provider (Shaw, Telus, PRIS) then you already have an email account you can use.
- Would everyone on your contact list appreciate the automated referral emails that are coming in your name?
You can always skip this “find friends” step for these services (as I do), and you can manually add the people that you’d want to connect with.
Privacy and the Internet often don’t go well together. Always consider what you are sharing online through websites or email. Our digital footprints are usually permanent!