Today I’d like to ascend the Nerd soapbox and give you my two cents on Facebook smarts, etiquette, and privacy. I have a facebook profile. I like it. You probably do too. It’s pretty easy to get comfortable with Facebook because of the familiarity it breeds between you and your friends. After all, you’re probably aware of many details of your friend’s lives and that feeling of community can help us forget the immortality of our every online action. Here’s what I think everyone should remember and know about Facebook.
- Security settings
Tightening up the security on your facebook profile is not a one-step process. It’s also not a one-time process. As Facebook adds new features all the time, it is also always changing the way it’s security works. I think this is annoying, but I would rather just update my settings than delete my account. If you are a parent worried about the privacy/security of your child’s account, keep in mind that you can set their account so that certain online actions get emailed to you in case you want to monitor their new friend. Since the security settings are very customizable, you can make your account super private or completely public. To start, click on the Account” button on the upper right-hand corner. Since telling you all the in’s and out’s of updating your security is a little outside the scope of this blog, please do a little online research and go through all the privacy/security/setting tabs on your account. Facebook is a little like a scorned ex with the unnerving potential to air your dirty laundry with the slightest provocation. Solution? No dirty laundry. No matter how secure your profile is you should avoid the following:
- Making negative comments about ANYONE that you don’t want EVERYONE to see. This includes you boss, your place of employment, your old friends, your dog, etc.
- Posting pictures of your children showing private parts. I don’t have a problem with baby butts to a certain extent but anything other than that is a MAJOR no no. Of course the same should go for you and other adult friends.
I know this sounds simple. DON”T BE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE YOU DON”T KNOW. Personally, I have a pretty strict policy of not being friends with people unless we are legitimately friends in real life. No acquaintances. That’s just me. I am not into having a online relationship with someone that is different than our real life relationship. That being said, I still have friends that I only added because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. What do you do? While I do legitimately know them, I don’t care to hear about their morning coffee, or how they slept last night. I avoid this by removing them from my news feed by clicking the small “x” next to their post. Also if have a bunch of friends who play games or take quizzes all the time you have the option of only hiding those actions. I don’t think anyone should feel guilty for being picky about their friends. You are in real life, you may as well online.
- Online immortality
Here’s the crazy part about this. It’s just like Vegas–whatever happens online, stays online. This is an important thing to get your head wrapped around, because none of us have yet to really live out the implications of this fact. I can’t type in my parent’s names and find out everything they said and did online and all the pictures they were in back in their early twenties, because there was no internet. However, when my children are adults, and with a small amount of internet savvy they will have access to any pictures posted of me, all my status updates on Facebook, and every single one of these blog posts (Hi Kids!). You really need to think before you post.
- Spam/hacker awareness
I know it’s easy to get scared by all those news stories about hackers posing as someone on their profile and asking friends to wire money. It can also be annoying to log in one day and find out that you sent 95 of your friends a video titled, “LOL!!WUT YOU DID LAST NITE WAS CRAAAAZZZYYYY!!!!” Here’s three simple ways to avoid this.
- Do not click on anything posted by your friends that has any chance of not being posted by them. Even if this means you have to ask them first. No videos, no links, no “likes”.
- Do not respond to any friends asking for money or private information. Even if they have been kidnapped and are being slowly tortured. This is not your friend. This is a hacker.
- Change your password if you do any of these two things. You can also set one of your security settings so that you get an email if another computer logs in to your account.
I know this was long. You probably think I’m paranoid. I’m okay with that.