I had a slew of old friends find and follow me on Facebook recently and its great to catch up but most of them are newbies to social media and making their first forays in these networks. In watching their actions, I thought I would craft a post giving them some pointers they should consider to maintain their safety and privacy online.
1. Use the privacy settings (in Facebook click on settings at the top right hand side of your screen then privacy) to make sure that your personal information such as date of birth, home address, email etc are not there for all the world to see – don’t want to encourage identity thieves or spammers do we?
2. Off the Wall – don’t use people’s wall to communicate personal information or communications. If it is longer than a couple of sentences take it to Facebook email.
3. Remember that the first thing recruiters do these days is to check out candidates on Facebook. If you intend on ever applying for another job you should be cogniscent of this. If you plan on getting your boobs out or boasting about your drinking prowess to the world give it some consideration first. Always do the granny test, be careful of what you post and again use the privacy settings accordingly.
4. Be authentic – upload a profile picture so that people can see that its really you – or what you look like after all these years, as the case may be.
5. Be selective about who you add. Don’t add every TD&H who invites you and remember what mother said about strangers! Seriously though, being selective about who you connect with gives you more control if safety is a concern.
6. Be respectful and don’t use profanities too much – you never know when someone’s kid is watching over there shoulder (take it from me – this happens a lot!).
7. Be true to who you are. Transeparency is key to effective social media participation. Don’t try to present yourself as something or someone you are not. Imagine how embarassing it will be when someone crawls out of the woodwork and points out the truth – to everyone.
8. My friend Marc at Amuse Consulting says if its not worth saying out loud, its not worth saying on line. This is a good mantra to bear in mind when considering your status updates.
9. Block Em – If someone is rude to you in comments or on your wall, you can block them. Again go to settings, privacy and scroll down to Block List to do so.
10. Applications – you should be aware that most of the games and applications on Facebook are from third party companies you know nothing about and are often set up for the simple purpose of collecting you marketing info. Once you add the application, they have access to your information. Be wary of which applications you add and again use the privacy settings to control this.