As social media usage continues to rise, and popular networks explode with activity, it’s easier than ever for people to get the 411 on both your personal and professional life via a simple online search.
Take a recent episode of “Modern Family.” As the characters struggle to sell a house they flipped, they become anxious and devise a plan to make the house irresistible to a prospective buyer named Zack. By checking out his social media profiles, they learn about his love life woes, favorite song, beer, sports team, movie and food, kickboxing passion and more. From there, they enhance the home’s decor – and their sales pitch – accordingly. It’s all going well until one character slips and mentions Zack’s dog’s name. Then another notes they can close on the house by Zack’s birthday. He’s officially freaked out (rightly so) and takes off.
The amount of time it took them to get a pretty comprehensive snapshot of Zack’s life? One afternoon. While some people may not mind this information being available at anyone’s fingertips, the majority do.
According to a 2012 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 58 percent of social network site users restrict access to their profiles, noting their main profile is set to private so that only friends can see it. Another 19 percent set their profile to partially private so that friends of friends can view it. Only one-fifth said their main profile is completely public.
Despite this, half of those on social networks say they have some difficulty in managing the privacy controls on their profile. To make it easier, we’ve outlined some quick and easy ways to manage your privacy on the big 3: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Part 1 of this three-part series focuses in on Facebook. There are multiple ways to manage your privacy on this dynamic network. Review your settings periodically to ensure they continue to meet your privacy needs.
Timeline and tagging settings
On your profile, click on the Activity Log drop-down menu and select “Timeline settings.”
Here, you can select who can post to your timeline and who can see what’s posted on your timeline.
Once you’ve selected your settings, click on “Privacy” on the left tool bar.
On this page, you can select who can access your information or timeline via an Internet search, as well as decide who can see past and future posts.
Lastly, you can also categorize your Facebook friends into specific lists (e.g. colleagues, family, friends, volunteers). Close friends and acquaintances are two pre-populated lists you already have.
To create a new list:
- Go to the timeline of a friend you want to add to a new list
- On their cover photo, click “Friends” in the lower right corner
- Click “Add to another list” from the menu that appears
- Scroll down and click “New list”
- Type in a name for the new list and hit “return”
Moving forward, every time you post something on Facebook, you can select which list(s) will see that post.
Need a social media refresher, or want to discuss these steps in more detail? Contact us. Otherwise, stay tuned for next week’s Part 2, which focuses on Twitter privacy.