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Online Privacy and Reputation Management: Fix your Facebook privacy settings

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Today's Extension Quick Byte is written by the lovely and knowledgeable Kristen Mastel, outreach and instructional librarian with the University Libraries.  

Have you ever Googled yourself or someone else? What does the world know about you? Privacy concerns are rampant in todays social networking world, and maintaining one's online presence is essential.  

What

We all have heard the media hyped stories of high school student athletes caught drinking through Facebook party photos, fast food employees posting unsanitary photos of food, burglars using FourSquare, and the employee who ranted on Twitter about his/her employer and was fired. These are the extremes. We are much more likely to have our Twitter or Facebook account hacked by someone, or a friend post an embarrassing photo tagged with your name on a social network.

By the end of this Quick Byte you should:
  • Be aware of what you share
  • Control what you can control
Why

We care about the perceptions of the world around us. However, do you act the same way online as you do in-person? Are you friends with the same people online as in-person? (For a bit of social media humor watch Can I be your friend?.)

Maintaining an online presence is essential today. A digital presence allows us to keep in touch with not only family and friends, but also colleagues and Extension users. The Internet has also given everyone the power to disseminate information to the broader world.

The Internet is a part of your permanent record. Did you know the Library of Congress is archiving all tweets? Have you ever looked at a website's history through the Way Back Machine? What we post today in a digital world, can easily be shared and spread across the Internet, so spend the time up front to consider settings and know your rights.

How

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Social networks change their user agreements, privacy and security settings constantly.  Consider reviewing your settings frequently.

  • Review your social network settings.
    • Review your security settings. Enable Facebook to use a secure connection whenever possible.
    • Review your privacy settings. Consider enabling review of any tags or posts that people mention your name. Also, did you know that third party apps have access to your personal information, sometimes your Wall, etc. You can control many of these under your privacy settings.
    • Create Facebook lists/Google + circles. Consider posting information to only the select individuals that would be interested in the information.  Would my colleague on Facebook want to hear about my little niece?  Consider creating lists for family, friends, colleagues, etc.
    • Consider viewing your profile as an outsider. Facebook has a "View As..." feature under Activity Log, to view your profile as the public would, or as someone you have defined in a list.
  • Review location settings on your cell phone and camera. In particular, consider info about your current location and whether you want it shared, and with whom. This info is often attached to photos, especially if taken with a mobile device.
Assignment

  1. Review your settings on social networks, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and LinkedIn.
  2. Take the short e-Professionalism course, at: https://e-professionalism.umn.edu/
  3. Leave a comment if you agree or disagree with something here, or found something else interesting to share. Plus, be entered to win a nifty Choose Privacy mini button!
Last Quick Bytes Winner! Congratulations Karl Foord for winning the "Another Meeting" notepad!! Thanks for your participation everyone!

1 Comment

thbrown Author Profile Page said:

All very good points to consider.
I like the "Can I be your friend?" YouTube video. Seems like a nice short video a person should view when they open a social media account.

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