The internet is a vast space, where over 5 billion users communicate and interact by private messages, video chat, blogs and uploading content of their lives daily. Sharing information is human nature, we love sharing our happiness like marriage, birthdays, promotion, new business on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, Snapchat, etc. This is acceptable to an extent, however we should be very conscious of information about ourselves that we put up and how such is presented because social media is a double-edged sword that has its good and bad sides. The reach of a post should not be under estimated; Information uploaded cannot be fully retracted as our online footprint is indelible and can be revealed by a digital search.


Online personality, online persona or internet persona, also known internet identity (IID) is a social identity that an Internet user establishes in online communities and websites. It may also be an actively constructed presentation of oneself. Some may say, ‘I am different from my content, I am professional’, but how many people will get to see you in person before they make assumptions and presumptions about you?  They are more likely to get to know you digitally (online) before physically meeting you. Your social media page can therefore represent a first impression of you to the whole world in this digital age and so must be very carefully guarded and managed. One must be very selective of their post, and consider the kind of personality online they want to present.


There are lots of benefits that come with having a good online persona on social media. Some of these are referenced below.

  1. Customer-friendliness: It becomes easy for potential customers to discover your business and less likely for customers to suspect a scam, and trust your business. COVID-19 showed the importance of a business having an online presence. Due to the limitation of public interaction, businesses needed to be traced online. Having a strong online presence can help give you a competitive edge and connect with your customers.
  2. Cost-effectiveness and reach in Marketing: Today, social media is the fastest and cheapest way to push/market products and services to potential clients, leading to sales and profit. The use of Facebook ads, application ads and paid advert has created a spike in business revenues over the years.
  3. Career opportunities: Social media presence facilitates career evolution. A strong online personality, entertaining content and large audience can build careers peculiar to social media such as social media manager, website builder, graphic designer, content creator, influencers and brand ambassadors. Social media has become monetized to make a comfortable living.


RISKS OF POSTING ONLINE                                         

  1. Employers and Job recruiters vet candidates’ online profile: Organizations that protect their reputation go the extra mile to ensure all their employees are reputable offline and online. Therefore hiring agents searching for potential employees tend to go online to get a feel of the lifestyle and online persona of identified candidates to determine alignment with the objectives of the organization. Once a negative impression of a candidate/employee is created, it can lead to rejection by recruiters or loss of employment.
  1. Published posts can be accessed by market competitors: It is important that individuals and businesses protect their online image as competitors evaluate the online persona of other companies to discover trade secrets such as name of distributors and manufacturers, or even customer information for the purpose of appropriating business opportunities.
  1. Blackmail: Social media is also patronized by menacing people , who will take advantages of other users by obtaining sensitive information which will be used to extort from the victims. These blackmailers are always on the lookout for vulnerable online victims to prey on. Therefore social media users should always be mindful of content they upload online whether in private messages or public view.
  1. Identity theft: The advent of social media has led to the rise of identity theft. Users tend to post their job experience, family pictures, work addresses which can be accessed by scammers and hackers for illicit gain.  Which results in victims suffering financial or reputational damages.
  1. Permanence of post: The state of a published post can remain unchanged. The algorithm of social media operates in a way to promote accounts to vast audiences. These posts can be saved to devices by screen shot or screen record, which makes it difficult to wipe out completely from the internet.
  1. Online Bullying: Social media can be toxic in many ways, it can create an environment, where users are shamed and overly criticized by other individuals or groups. Although these platforms officially condemn bullying, it is difficult to eradicate the trend


Having demonstrated that the online presence of a person presents advantages and attendant risks, it is important for discretionary steps to be taken to avoid or minimize the risks. Although the internet does not come with a magical undo button, some protective such as the following steps can be taken by the user:

  1. Self censorship: This is the self-prescribed and guided control over what one posts. As we know, social media facilitates “trends” which are usually lighthearted however some of such can be damaging to your reputation or mental health. Users can participate in healthy “trends” which showcase their skill or talent but avoid negative trends.  Also, a social media page is not a diary so users should avoid overly sharing information.
  2. Privatization  of social media page:This limits the public eye from interfering with your posts. In this case, you can select who you accept or deny access to your page. This controls the quality of your audience and restricts it to certain demography.
  3. Deletion and blocking. This entails the removal of previously uploaded content, and prevention of other users from viewing your information online. It is less effective because the post is already uploaded as social media post can be screenshot and saved to devices which cannot be deleted. However if the post is not viral, it can be removed and reduce reputation damage
  4. Seek professional help:Organizations can engage social media managers who can assist in reviewing posts to align with the goals and objective of the organization as they are equipped with the technical skills necessary for managing online risks and maximizing social media benefits.
  5. Observe the ethics of your profession: Some professions such as law and medicine  provide practitioner-guidelines which either prohibit or strictly streamline advertisement of services, online or physical in order to safeguard professional etiquette. The members of theses professions are expected to adhere to these standards
  6. Distinguish your peronal page from your business page: It is required for users to have a separate page for hobbies and another for their business or professional engagements to avoid mixed impressions. There should be clear and distinct messages when your public profiles are viewed.


Online presence on social media platforms benefits the subject but can also be hurtful of him to the detriment of the digital inclusion aspirations of society. Therefore adherence to the steps/actions recommended above for managing the risks of social media use is strongly advised.

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