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Dec 12 2011

Repercussions: Thinking Before Going Social


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Image via CrunchBase

Like 800+ million other people I’ve got a Facebook account. And I have friends and relatives, and acquaintances that I communicate with on Facebook, but it’s fantastically striking to see comments that are completely off taste, or see comments that but you flat back in your seat screaming “too much information!”

It’s no secret that social networking is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but some people forget that social networking also has a dark side. A dark side that predicates that insurance companies, potential employers or any other outside interested parties, want to be able to look at and review your social activities; to determine what kind of person you are outside of work. It’s becoming a common practice.

Gaging your personal attitudes outside the work environment seem to be almost as important as your credit score. and practices like this aren’t limited to Facebook; they include Twitter and YouTube. But for this example, I’m going to use Facebook…

In the past couple of months, one of the biggest improvements to social networking has been the introduction of Google+. Not so much what Google+ can offer users as far as social networking, but the fact that it caused Facebook to start rapidly introducing new features and functions, improve their privacy, improve their sharing options, on how people can choose groups of individuals to share their information with, as opposed to just blurting it out to the entire world.

Here’s a screenshot from Google+ when users are posting a new status or sharing information…

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Something that Facebook didn’t have was the ability to share information with just close friends, or for that matter, any groups of friends; Facebook just didn’t offer this option. but from what’s shown above, you can select individuals or you can select a group of people. You can also decide whether or not you want to share your location, where the status update was sent from;  before Google+, this wasn’t an option with Facebook. But Google forced Facebook update rapidly; Facebook recognized very quickly that the issues of privacy were coming down on them like a ton of bricks.

Here’s a screenshot from Facebook, after they have revamped the user interface when updating member status…

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The interface is very similar; but selecting the groups of people you want to share with an the location where you’re located is on different sides of the box [screen]. From the options, you can choose to share your location, and now you can choose the option to share information with just a close knit section of individuals. Facebook even goes so far to try to create automatic lists of people for you based upon where you work, who you talk to the most, where you went to school and other associations.

Keeping the information you share closer to you, with your close friends, is probably a good thing. But you also need to be looking at who all can view your profile; that’s going to be located with the Facebook privacy settings.

Here’s a screenshot of Facebook’s privacy settings…

http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy

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From here, you can choose who can view your status by default, and because of Facebook’s historical actions, I would recommend visiting your privacy settings at least once a month. I say this because Facebook has a nasty habit of adding features and functions to Facebook that directly affect your privacy, how your information is shared, and defaulting that action to be open to EVERYONE.

Person after person has been fired from their jobs because of posts made to Facebook. Everyone from teachers to TSA agents have been fired for sharing information that may have been inappropriate, ill-conceived or somehow other deemed offensive to another party. The world of social networking is still evolving and in the United States the freedom of speech seems to be somewhat liberal when it comes to the world of technology.

Having that information open to everyone means that anyone who opens up your profile and Facebook can read those shared facts about you. It may not be something that you want shared, so it’s important to keep coming back to the privacy settings in Facebook and checking them.

All this has to do with protecting your profile and personal information from outside individuals who may not have any official purposes or needs to see personal information whatsoever. And if they were able to gleam some information from your Facebook account, or any other social network, I’m sure you’d prefer not to have repercussions for the wild ramblings of a particular individual rating your chances of employment or relationship.

While these options are available to the users/members of Facebook, most people don’t pay attention to the options that are actually available to the, and generally speaking, their left at the default settings. the advice to the public is that, if what you’re posting could possibly come back later and reflect negatively on you, your friends or your relatives, consider rewording it or simply not posting it.

 

Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.
LEHSYS.com 

…via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11
 

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