Be Facebook savvy

Why it’s important to keep your profile clean and safe

Facebook is a very effective communication tool that can be handled properly or improperly, depending on how it’s used.

After hearing about the recent Facebook privacy fiasco, I skimmed through my profile to make sure I didn’t have any sensitive information available that could be used against me in some way. For example, something as small as listing the year you were born could cost you your social security number.

I’m not kidding. Identity thieves can steal your identity just by looking up the last two digits of your birth year and the first three numbers of your social security number. Once that information gets in the wrong hands, it will not be easy to undo the damage.

Another potential back-fire-some habit of some Facebookers is posting and/or tagging photos of themselves while they are having “fun.” What I mean by that is drinking, smoking, or acting in a provocative manner. Sure, it may seem harmless capturing the memories of a good time and then putting them up on your profile, but keep in mind – what’s posted on the Internet will remain there forever.

I’m not one who gets involved in acts such as those, let alone taking pictures during those events. I’m fairly cautious about what pictures I post. I’m aware future employers will be looking up my name after a job interview and will more than likely come across my Facebook profile, and I don’t want anything on there that could decrease my chances of landing the position.

Also, think before you update your status. It’s much too easy to vent your feelings if you’re having a bad day. I’ve noticed some people post “more-than-we-needed-to-know” information on their statuses. I understand if you’re having a bad day and you want to talk about it, but a status that states how horrible life is at the moment is not the way to go when it comes to those matters. Find a parent or friend to talk to, not Facebook.

According to Robert Wilson from Turley Law Firm, it’s imperative you never leave your Facebook open on any computer when you’re not at it, even your own. Wilson said, “Leaving access to your Facebook account is the equivalent of leaving your wallet or cell phone in public on the picnic table.”

Anyone can hop on your Facebook account and change your settings or profile information. It’s one thing when your friends get on and post some silly message on your status, but it’s another when it’s a stranger or someone you can’t trust who may truly make a mess of your Facebook.

In addition, nobody really should have one thousand something friends. One can’t tell me a person actually talks to all of those people on a regular basis. Facebook should not be a popularity contest to see who can have the most friends. Wilson also said it’s important to never accept every friend request received. If you don’t know or don’t like the person requesting you, click the “Ignore” button. n