Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

Protect your privacy is a world that becoming less private.

May 19th, 2010 by Deb McLean

It’s no secret, I enjoy Facebook and other social media.  Heck, you’re reading my blog!  There are many positives about social networking both personally and in business, but social media has been under fire for some issues regarding privacy.

If you (or your children or your business) is using Facebook, online banking, Yahoo, Google, Twitter, or any networked computer you’ve already got a gazillion amount of data floating everywhere. And that data is handled by thousands of people that probably don’t want to do anything wrong, but mistakes happen.

It’s your responsibility to try to make sure those mistakes don’t hurt you.  Yes, you could give up the internet and social networking, but do you really want to do that?  I don’t.  Instead, consider some of these steps recommended by Linda Stern of CBS Moneywatch:

Worry about your financial data. Use only the most trustworthy banking and financial management sites, and monitor your accounts regularly to make sure that there isn’t any unauthorized access going on. CBS MoneyWatch has produced an excellent guide to protecting your financial identity.

Accept some lack of privacy for the rest of your data. It’s the price you’ll pay for online fun and convenience. Does it matter if everyone knows you’re a soccer player or gardener or lover of old school hip hop music? Maybe not. But do you want to “like” particular products or companies that will use your click as an unpaid endorsement? If you suspect that publicizing your strong political opinions or your costly stored-at-home gold coin collection could be dangerous to your career or safety, keep them off of your social profiles.

Check your Facebook settings. A nifty new program called Privacy Scanner can check your Facebook settings to make sure they’re set to the tightest levels. But don’t get too comfortable. Facebook has shown it considers privacy settings a fleeting choice. Assume that anything you’ve ever posted on the site could eventually be made public.

Be business savvy. It’s good to have some workplace friends and business colleagues as online friends. It makes you seem more like a well-rounded person and can help you build connections with people who might hire you or throw business your way in the future. But don’t grouse about work or customers on Facebook or Twitter, and don’t annoy your ‘friends’ by simply promoting your company with every post.

Limit your photo fun. People who aren’t your friends can often see pictures of you. Even though you can restrict the distribution of pictures you post yourself through your privacy settings in Facebook, other people can post pictures of you that can become public. Furthermore, both Twitter and Facebook consider themselves owners of the photos you post. So skip the beer pong shots and reserve that pole-dancing episode for your boyfriend, and only then if you really trust him to never break up with you and post it himself.

(Source:  Linda Stern, CBS Moneywatch)

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