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Protecting Yourself from Fake Online Friendships

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Friendships are not like they used to be. People no longer meet a friend at the movies or for a cup of coffee. Now, people make friends in a virtual world on Facebook, My Space or Twitter. Virtual friendships have become the new trend, allowing casual friendships or networking opportunities to arise without ever having to meet face to face anymore. It has become a way for people to have long lasting relationships, virtually, but it also has the potential to ruin reputations as well.

Facebook has become the number one social media site in the world, and it has many benefits. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people from your past, and offers unlimited networking opportunities with people you would never have the chance to meet otherwise. Unfortunately, with all of your potential cyber friends, there is the risk that anyone at anytime could say something about you that could damage your reputation.

Anyone can request to be your friend in Facebook, and a popular trend especially with the younger generation is to accept anyone as someone you know. When this happens, they can post anything they want to about you, including sexually explicit comments, vulgar language or just plain slander you and your character. By taking the time to maintain your online reputation management however, you can keep yourself in good standing.

There are many ways to control reputation management, including being cautious when you accept friend requests.  To minimize risk of someone damaging your online reputation, make sure all friends on your Facebook page are reputable people. Secondly, remove yourself from Twitter lists that can harm your reputation. Since it is easy to search for someone on the web, you don’t want a future employer to find you are linked with inappropriate sites.

Online friendships are an important part of the virtual world, and hold many benefits for the user. Just as easily, they can harm someone who doesn’t watch out for themselves and make sure their reputation isn’t at stake. By taking necessary steps to insure your reputation isn’t being affected negatively, watch out for people you don’t know wanting to be your friend, and manage your social networking sites on a regular basis.

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