Thursday, September 29, 2011

welcome to creeping 101.. i'm your teacher, facebook!

so along with 99.9% of facebook users, i HATE the new update, and i hate that they plan on making even more changes soon. the ticker popped up on my profile earlier in the month. i complained about it in a status, and then, quite thankfully, it disappeared. of course it came back earlier this week, along with all the new changes. if you don't have facebook, or haven't been on to see the changes, the ticker is an up-to-the-minute update of EVERYTHING going on on facebook... as it happens...  i can see what friends like what as soon as they 'like' it, when they post on anything (even on people that i'm not friends with, due to their privacy settings), and everything else you used to have to do work to be able to see. now, i admit... i've been known to creep around on facebook quite frequently... what can i say, i get bored. but this is taking it to a whole new level. now everyone is expected to creep on everything. i've been meaning to do a post about facebook privacy settings for awhile, and now that everything has changed on there, i'll have to do things a little differently than previously anticipated, and while i would like to just sit here and bash facebook, i won't. i'll make this an actual 'learn something' post, and while i mainly am going to talk about facebook settings, this really applies to every profile/account you have online. and parents, i really suggest going through your children's privacy settings (either with or without them) to ensure they're being safe online, too.

now, lets start with the basic things you need to check out. if you don't know, there are privacy settings on facebook that you should check out. i tend to even check my settings out every couple of weeks, because facebook is constantly adding new settings, and often times, you have to lock your stuff down yourself, rather than facebook just doing it by default and then you having to open your stuff up to the public if you wanted. the latter sounds like the more reasonable option, no? but facebook isn't reasonable, so let's just continue. now granted, with the new updates, it gives you more control from the spot, it also shows who has their stuff locked up, and who has it spread about like glitter after a craft day. to check your overall settings, click on the arrow in the upper right corner of the page, and go to privacy settings. from there you can see the settings you have, and have the option to change them. i highly recommend setting your stuff to friends only, merely because you can't always trust the friends of your friends. i used to have a few things, such as a few certain picture folders and some videos set to "friends of friends" only because i wanted the friends of the people that were in them to see the stuff they were tagged in. i no longer need to do that though, because facebook has enabled an option for me to allow the friends of my  friends to see only the tagged photos their in. totally works for me, and means i don't have to mess with as many settings anymore. yay!

you will, however, want to check out the settings for everything else. i shouldn't have to explain how important it is to keep some of your personal information private. and remember, just because facebook gives you the option to insert certain information, it doesn't mean you have to! just say no people... just say no. you don't need to have your home address visible to everyone! not even to all of your friends. do you really want the kid you used to sit next to in second grade or the guy you met at the bar last week to know exactly where you live!? that's a straight shot to getting a stalker right there. same goes for your phone number. if you put your phone number visible to everyone on facebook, or even just to all of your friends, don't go complaining when you get drunk dialed by someone at 3am. you made it public!!! 'but laaaaaaayne. what if my friends need it!? what if they lose their phone, or forget where i live!?!?!!' well here's a simple solution. instead of making it available to all your friends, just pick who you want to be able to see it! this isn't a new feature, and i've used it since i put my phone on there so i could receive text updates. i only share it with people that A) already have it or B) i don't mind having it. if you want to receive your text updates but don't want anyone to see your number, there's an option to just have it visible to only me. that setting applies to anything on your profile. i'll explain how to do that a little later.

so while you're in your privacy settings, i recommend going through each option and making sure it's set to how you want it. you might be surprised by the stuff you've been accidentally sharing with everyone. check every setting! again, i recommend having most, if not all of your stuff set to friends only. i'm not going to walk you through each setting, because i'm sure you smart people can figure things out. i just wanted to point out that it is there and that you can change things!

once you're done checking out your privacy settings, you should check out your account settings. click on the arrow in the upper right corner again, and then click on your account settings. there again, you will be able to see info and settings and change them. what i want you to check out most is the security tab and the facebook ads tab that are located on the left hand side of the screen. in the security tab, i recommend enabling secure browsing. this will make your facebook browsing an https site, which if you remember from an earlier post means the website is secure. your information is encrypted so 'the malicious one's' can't get your info remotely. https=good! now if you use a lot of applications on facebook, this setting will be turned off every time you go to an app and won't be turned back on until you either manually go back and turn it back on once you're done using your app, or it will come back on automatically the next time you log in. if you're like me and don't really use facebook apps, this should be no problem. if you do though, you may want to make it a habit of logging off and then back on when you're done with your apps. if you feel like that's too much of a pain, don't say i didn't warn you!!

the next thing i'd like for you to check out in your account settings is in the facebook ads tab. i like to disable everything in there because i feel like ads don't need to be viewing and sharing my personal stuff. of course, read the info there and decide for yourself.

before you leave the account settings page, give a look over everything and make the necessary changes from there. check all the tabs, and do what you gotta do.

ok.. now the next step is to go to your profile (your actual profile, not your homepage) and click on edit profile in the upper right corner. from there you can see how every bit of your information is shared. the icons on the right side of the page show who that particular piece of information is shared with. to change it, click on the icon and choose how you want to share it. remember, you can make custom lists to share it with only certain people, or not certain people, with certain lists, or not with certain lists or even, just yourself (in the case of address, phone numbers, etc). the choice is yours! you just have to make it and change it! go through all the tabs on the left side. again, i recommend choosing the friends setting for everything. again, it's up to you and i'm only here to inform you, not make you! so choose wisely my friends.

lastly, with the new changes came facebook's way of copying another social network. their new feature of being able to customize each post you share with certain groups on each individual post is a great idea, but too bad it's not their own. every time you post something new, you are given the option to share it with whomever you want, right there before you post it. i keep sounding like a broken record, but i advise you share with friends only, or with your already customized lists according to your post's subject.

now, while i just gave you all this information, i feel the need to point out the *hopefully* obvious. you should be acting as your own personal security screening. remember, you don't have to put everything about you on your profile or in your status. you DO need to be your own filter. just because we're given the option to connect and share everything, doesn't mean you should. privacy shouldn't be dead. chivalry shouldn't be dead. just because our world is changing, doesn't mean we should forget about the old one. you don't need to post every 5 minutes. you don't need to publicly bash someone. you don't need to share personal, and what should be private information. remember who could be reading what you're sharing. just because i don't talk to you, doesn't mean i don't look at what you post. keep in mind that if you decide to make everything public, then don't be surprised when it get's used against you or when info falls into the wrong hands. if you make it public, people will creep! i'll do it, and i won't feel bad because you were warned and should know better. censor yourself both with your settings and with your own personal judgement.

hopefully you already knew all the stuff in this post, and if not, i hope you learned something from it. with each new update facebook makes, be sure to check out your settings and learn how the new features work and what they share. oh, and if you want the original personalized sharing network, join google+ and find me :) only if i actually know you in real life though... cause i don't share with just anyone!

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