How much do you think someone can find out about you online? Even if I only “kind of” knew you, how much do you think you’d find? The answer: a whole lot. Facebook currently has over 500 million active users, each one sharing a little bit (or sometimes a whole lot) of their lives online. If they aren’t careful, that information can easily fall into the wrong hands.
The Red-Headed Diva, my good friend and social media celebrity (um, Lady Gaga follows HER on Twitter), recently did a little experiment. She took a few people she only somewhat knew on Facebook, and started researching them with a few simple questions. The information she found was incredible. She knew the names of people’s children, where they lived, when they were going on vacation, among lots of other questionable details. She wrote about the experience on her Facebook fan page, along with this interesting article from Newsweek: 10 Ways Facebook Can Ruin Your Life. The enormity of what seems like some simple status updates on Facebook can do to your life is incredible.
So what do we do? Give up Facebook altogether? I can hear some of you shuddering. Giving up Facebook does not need to be the answer. Luckily, Facebook has recently updated their privacy controls to better protect it’s users. I could go on about how you need to adjust your privacy controls, but the truth of the matter is, the kind folks over at Mashable have written a much more direct and easy to follow article.
While these tips, and the Facebook Privacy Controls, are not foolproof they are an informed start at protecting your information. Remember, the Internet is forever…next time you think about posting questionable content, think about how your grandmother would feel if she found it. I guarantee, you won’t post at least 1/3 of the things you intended to post.
Enough reading now. Go ahead and read these articles, and then check your Facebook Privacy Controls. You won’t regret it.