We all know the story by now. Facebook started in a dorm room to connect students on campuses around the world. Over the years, it has snowballed, and now generations of families, from pre-teens to grandmothers, share updates and pictures on Facebook on a regular basis. As the popularity grows, some people have realized that sharing exploits of their night at the bar via Facebook may not be good for their career – considering their boss is a ” Facebook friend.”
Facebook continues to create ways for its users to co-mingle their online personas. Therein lies the problem. If you have carefully created a Facebook page that won’t offend your family while still keeping in touch with your college buddies, you may not want all those people reading your blog about your recent fertility concerns. As Facebook rolls out new ways to “connect automatically” many users are concerned that the walls they have constructed are dissolving without their consent.
Initially twitter and Facebook linked up so that an update on twitter would also post on your Facebook account. For some users this facilitated their online experience. However, some people felt their personal and private lives collide unwillingly through these automatic updates.
Now Facebook is pushing users to connect their yelp and Facebook accounts. This removes a wall of privacy that many people crave. Anonymity is helpful when you’re reviewing restaurants and hotels honestly. By connecting your reviews, now your Aunt in Tulsa may realize that you thought the food at her wedding was terrible – creating years of family strife.
The “like” feature will soon appear on other sites, including Pandora. So now, there is a computer algorithm tracking which music you “like”, when you “like” it, and when you buy it.
So what can you do?
Pay attention to the cookies on your computer. If you automatically save passwords for several accounts on several websites on the same computer – be warned that Facebook may join these for you before you realize it. Log out of any account when you’re not using it.
Set a reminder, and once a month check your privacy settings on your various accounts. Ensure that the settings make sense for how you live your life.
Consider using one email for personal use and one email for business use. Then set up a corresponding Facebook account for each email. This way you can manage which online persona different people encounter, and which other parts of your online life you would like linked up.
Edit your friend list. If you have not interacted with someone via the internet or real life in the past six months, do you really need to remain connected to them via Facebook? Does your high school biology teacher need to see a picture of your most recent vacation? Probably not.
Realize that Facebook is a business and the content you put on the site will be viewed by others. Do not put anything on Facebook that you would not want to see on a billboard in Times square billboard.