Thursday, January 28, 2010

Protect Your Privacy on Facebook

The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females. This is evident in the majority of Social Media 101 workshops I teach. This generation is eager to get connected on the internet, however, they are also wise and experienced enough to know to be cautious in doing so.

Whether teaching workshops for employees at businesses, members at organizations, or staff/patrons/board members at public libraries, the predominant questions are, "What am I actually sharing?" How can I protect my privacy?" "How can I help protect my kids/grandkids privacy?" I LOVE that these questions are being asked. I could not be a bigger advocate for protecting your privacy and information by educating yourself in what you are sharing.

Facebook was 'born' in 2002, so it is still just a tween. Although I think Facebook is highly responsive to the wants and needs of its members, it is still figuring out the best way to utilize privacy settings. Unfortunately for us, this means there are changes quite regularly that we need to make ourselves aware.

Currently, there are many ways we can protect our privacy. Here's how:
Please note that you may access this step-by-step tutorial in my Social Media 101 presentation available on SlideShare at http://ow.ly/1139P. Slides 24 through 33 walk through all of the steps.
  1. Log into your Facebook account.
  2. In the top right hand corner, click on Settings.
  3. Once you see the gray My Account box, find Privacy and click on Manage.
  4. First click on Search. Unless you are a business or your Facebook account is a professional account, Google search engines do not need to index you. From the first drop down box, choose Only Friends. From the second, make sure the Allow button is NOT checked.
  5. At the top, click Back to Privacy.
  6. Next, select Profile Information.
  7. Change all of the dropdown boxes to Only Friends. Under Photos and Videos, select Customize and choose Only Me.
  8. Click Back to Privacy.
  9. Select Contact Information. Read each one and decide who you actually want to see this information? Is it Only Me? Is it Only Friends? Unfortunately, the Add Me As A Friend feature only allows you to select Everyone or Only Friends. Hopefully Facebook will be changing this soon.
  10. Click Back to Privacy.
  11. Click on Applications and Web Sites.
  12. Next to What Your Friends Can Share About You, click on Edit Settings. These are all of the things they could share about you. I don't know about you, but that is my personal business. If you agree, uncheck every box. Or leave the boxes checked next to information you don't mind sharing.
Congratulations! You have taken the first steps in protecting yourself and your privacy. There are more advanced features for helping protect our kids/grandkids. I am working on a presentation for that and hope to unveil it soon.

In the meantime, if you would like the Social Media 101 workshop presented at your business, organization, or public library, contact me.

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