Privacy and Social Networking
An article in today’s Vancouver Sun raises the Facebook privacy issue again: the article discusses the increase in bogus online identities and points out that many business individuals are steering clear of Facebook as a result.
Every time Facebook makes changes, like those we mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, the inevitable wave of hysteria follows. Whilst privacy is undoubtedly an issue, it shouldn’t be a reason to avoid social networks completely. Given that 400 million people (and counting) use Facebook, if you are in a professional role where building your network is part of what you do, then it is simply foolish to ignore Facebook completely.
How To Mitigate Facebook Privacy Concerns
Privacy is indeed a concern, as is identity theft, but if you take a few simple precautions when social networking you can really help limit the risk of these eventualities actually transpiring. What better a time then to review some simply steps you can take to mitigate these concerns:
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 – dont want to encourage identity thieves or spammers do we?
2. Off the Wall – dont use peoples 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 cognizant of this. Boasting about your drinking prowess to the world will not land you that coveted job. 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 and which pages you like. Dont 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: this is not about quantity – it is about quality.
6. Never Buy Friends or Followers – never use sites that promise you thousands of new followers or views. There is always a catch. (Thanks to the a forementioned Sun article for that one!).
7. Be respectful and dont use profanities too much – you never know when someones kid is watching over there shoulder (take it from me – this happens a lot!).
8. Be true to who you are. Transparency is key to effective social media participation. Dont try to present yourself as something or someone you are not. Imagine how embarrassing it will be when someone crawls out of the woodwork and points out the truth – to everyone.
9. Say It – If it is not worth saying out loud, it is not worth saying on line. This is a good mantra to bear in mind when considering your status updates.
10. 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.
11. 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.
Thanks to Tailor Ransom for the great Flickr image!