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How to Lock Down Your Facebook Privacy Settings

Thanks to Stacey Dewig Williams, Director of Social Media Marketing for Go Local Pros, for input and review on these security settings.

My interview with Jackie Monroe for 14 News – Facebook TMI inspired this blog. With 800 million Facebook users around the planet and the Facebook tendency to change settings on a regular basis, you should check your privacy settings every month. Listed below are items to check right now. My recommendations err on the side of caution for those who want the highest security levels possible in 4 areas – Privacy, Profile, Status and Photos.:

Privacy Settings:

  1. In the upper right hand corner, click on the down arrow and click on privacy settings.
  2. Set your default privacy to Friends, not Public. (If you click on Help, Safety Center, parents, teen & teachers can get great tips on using Facebook safely.)
  3. Click on Edit Settings under How You Connect. Select for each one if you want Friends, Friends of Friends, or Everyone.
  4. Click on Edit Settings under How Tags Work. Select On, On, Friends, Off, Off for safest settings.
  5. Click on Edit Settings under Apps and Websites. If you use apps, those apps have access to information you allow and your friend lists. (The fewer apps you use, the more private you’ll be.) Under Apps You Use, you can click on Edit Settings and see which apps you have allowed to have access to your information. You can edit these as needed. Under How People Bring Your Info To Apps They Use, click on Edit Settings, uncheck everything, and and Save Changes.  Don’t enable Instant Personalization- leave it alone. Don’t enable Public Search – leave it alone. You will need to click on Back to Apps and then Back to Privacy Settings to get back to your other settings.
  6. Under Limit the Audience for Past Posts, if you have accidentally had everything public in the past and want to limit it to friends, click on Manage Past Post Visibility. Click on Limit Old Posts (note – you can’t do an undo of this.)
  7. Under Blocked People and Apps, you can designate people to block. If you block someone, that person cannot access your profile. Note: if you decide to unblock someone you had previously blocked, you will not be able to re-block that person for 48 hours. So think carefully if you unblock somebody.

Yes, you’re more private after you’ve done these steps. But wait – there’s more to truly protect your privacy.

Profile Privacy

  1. In the upper right hand corner, click on the View As… button. When you click on this, you can type in a friend’s name and see what that person sees of your information. If you click on public, you will see what of your profile is available for the general public.
  2. In the upper right hand corner, click on the Edit Profile button. With this, you can go through each piece of information and on the right hand side, click on the down arrow and select its level of visibility. Check each piece of information, in particular the ones listed below. On each page where you change information, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Save Changes.
  3. Under Basic Information, do not show your whole birthday as that leaves you open to identity theft. Many people opt to show the month and day only. Remember to Save Changes.
  4. Under Friends and Family, think carefully before showing your relationships with under 18 year olds. It is possible to be friends and not list the family relationship.  Then in the Friends section, click on the down arrow and decide your level. For those who have friends under 18, I highly recommend the Only Me setting to best protect the privacy of teens and your friends. Remember to Save Changes.
  5. Under Contact Information, carefully select what is available to friends and what is public. Business people will probably want to keep a phone number, email, and website public for networking purposes. Remember to Save Changes.

But wait, there’s more…

Status Privacy

  1. When you click to update your status, think carefully about each choice you make underneath the status.
  2. If you click on the + button, you can “tag” people in your status. When you tag them, their friends will be able to see and comment upon your status.
  3. If you click on the places button, you can list your location. When you note a public location which is attached to a Facebook page, that information could be listed on that page’s wall, where those who visit it might be able to see and comment upon it.
  4. If you click on the next drop down arrow, by the one that probably says “Friends,” you can filter which group sees your status. Then, when you hit post, only that group can see that status. Caution: if you set a filter level, that remains your default until you change it. So if you make a post “Public,” then all your future posts will be public. Think before you filter.

But wait, there’s more…

Photo Privacy

  1. Each photo album where your photos are stored has its own privacy settings. If you click on Photos on the right hand side of your profile, click on an album. Then click on Edit Album. On the bottom setting here, select your privacy level for that album. Click on Save.
  2. When you tag someone in a photo, that person’s friends can then see and comment upon that photo. Think before you tag.
  3. Timeline will probably hit Facebook within the next 6 months. If there are photos you don’t want inadvertently included in your “timeline,” purge them now. You will be able to customize which ones are public, but it will be less stressful to cut them now.

Remember – once you check these settings, put this on your calendar like changing your furnace filter. If you check your Facebook settings once a month, if any wording changes, you can make sure your settings are what you want them to be. If you hear or read that Facebook is doing major changes, as soon as those changes hit your Facebook wall, get thee to your privacy settings and check them. All of them. Then check them again a week later.

Finally, don’t let these privacy settings scare you. We already have other routines to protect ourselves from “Stranger Danger.” We lock our doors, lock our car doors, stop mail when we leave town, and more. As Facebook gives us a window into a new way of communicating with the outside world, we just need to learn how to make sure that window’s secure to protect ourselves.




Check your Facebook Privacy Settings NOW.

If you haven’t checked your privacy settings on Facebook since their most recent upgrade, STOP. Do not pass go, do not stop for coffee, and DO check your privacy settings.

  1. On your profile page, there is a button on the upper right that says View As. See what your page looks like globally, to any of the 800 million users on Facebook who aren’t your friends.
  2. In the upper right corner, go to the drop down arrow, click on privacy settings, and evaluate each setting.
  3. When you click on edit profile, click on the tool option sprocket on the right of different options and deliberately select what is public and what is locked down.
  4. Check to see what level you are sharing your posts. If you change one post to show as public, then it becomes your new default until you later restrict access.
  5. If/when you check into a location and check others in as well, their friends are able to see where you are. Think carefully before you do so.

I’ll have more details on protecting your Facebook privacy in coming days. Check back soon.

Nothing is worse than thinking your privacy is protected when it really isn’t.


Social Media Safety 4-H Success Story

Social Media Safety workshop in Evansville, Indiana.

Because of Twitter, Facebook, and 4-H, I got to meet some great people to help spread the message of social media safety to a larger audience. As a mother of teens who have been on social media for the past 4 years, the topic is a passion of mine. I’ve presented talks to church groups and youth groups on do’s and don’ts for social media.

Last spring, as I lobbied for 4-H funding at the state and national level, I met a 4-H leader in Massachusetts on Twitter. That became a friendship on Facebook. From there, we began discussing social safety for our communities.

Tonight, that culminates in a Skyped workshop, with my giving half of it in Evansville, Indiana and a Massachusetts speaker giving the other half. If all the technical details work out, our 4-H leaders and youth who participate will get to enjoy the same workshop, at the same time, in different states and different time zones. We’ve never tried this before and hope the technical details work.

We’ve shared information and ideas, regardless of how the tech part goes.

Our 4-H pledge talks about building our club, our community, our country and our world. Tonight, Facebook and Twitter helped us take that pledge to a new level.

The workshop in Evansville is at McCullough Library, 6 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

My Reference Letter for a Person I Don’t Know

I was flattered to be asked by Jane Doe to write a LinkedIn recommendation for her. She must pay attention to a broad range of people to ask me when we have never met, talked, or engaged one another in real life or on social media.

Frankly, I’m not sure whether she asked me to be a contact or I asked her. Nevertheless, I’m honored that she still thought enough of me to ask for the reference. Her work strengths that I can see:

  • Attention to detail – there are no spelling, capitalization, or punctuation errors on her LinkedIn profile.
  • Technical mastery – she is able to use social media templates – the request for my recommendation was the exact language of LinkedIn’s default recommendation request.
  • Humility – Jane is glad to let others shine and not venture into the limelight. Indeed, she has never liked or shared any of my posts on LinkedIn.
  • Unobtrusiveness – before this request, Jane has never messaged me or intruded on my time.
  • Pleasant personality – she’s smiling in her profile photo. That must be a good sign.

Based upon these observations, I highly recommend Jane Doe as a pleasant LinkedIn contact who never gives you a headache, pesters you, or irritates you.

By the way – if you happen to see her, tell her to say hello when she sees me. I’m not sure I would recognize her.




When Social Media Safety Gets Personal

My years of training youth and youth leaders on safer approaches to social media got a personal perspective this week.

I started Facebook before my kids turned 13 so I would be ready to guide them on the rules of the social media road. The past 4 years, we’ve learned together how to parent and be parented with a Facebook twist. For years, I thought we did most things right. Not only were Richard and I our kids’ first 2 friends on Facebook, but their 3rd was a prosecutor.

This week, we had our first security incident. Within hours of 1 of my kid’s posting of a new profile photo with a new hairstyle, a private message was received. From an adult friend of a friend commenting on the new look. Sounds innocent enough until you think about it. My teen sent an email of it to me with the subject line: “screenshot stalking.”

The only way a friend of a friend could have noted the new haircut was to be searching a mutual friend’s friend list. The thumbnail shot wasn’t big enough to show the change. So the “friend of a friend” had to be actually going to my teen’s Facebook page to check it out.  Within hours of a change. And then responded to that change by private message, with an under 18 year old.

On Tuesday, September 20, the 4-H Tech Club had set a Social Media Safety workshop at McCullough Library at 6 p.m. A 4-H group from Massachusetts is planning to participate via Skype. It’s free and open to the public.

My perspective changed. As Jack Bauer sometimes said, “This is personal.”

What new safety recommendations can I make now?

  • If you have friends under 18 on Facebook, set your privacy settings so your friends don’t appear on your wall.
  • Youth under age 18, and especially youngest Facebook members should receive messages from friends only.
  • Facebook requires 13 and older to be on Facebook. Many break this rule and shouldn’t. My teens are old enough to handle a nutty stalker. What about an innocent 12 year old? Or 9 year old?

I will demonstrate how to check privacy settings at the September workshop. Hope to see you there.

Don’t Private Message My Friends Unless They Are Also Your Friends

As a youth leader, social media safety for youth is important to me. As a mother of teens, it’s personal. Thanks to my guest blogger today, Daniel R. Miller, who discusses private messaging safety. His guest blog today:

            Social media has become a very useful tool for adults who are involved in youth organizations.  Young people may have email accounts, but they don’t read their emails.  Most of them, however, are on Facebook, and many of them are on there a lot.  If an adult wants to get a message to a young person, quickly and effectively, Facebook is the way to do it.

            This privilege, however, should be subject to some limitations.  I do not solicit friendship on Facebook from youth under 18; that’s creepy.  On the other hand, I accept friendships from young people with whom I already have an association:  my 4-H club and my Sunday school class, for example.  Also, private groups on Facebook do not require that I maintain Facebook friend status with young people.  I can reach the entire membership by posting to the group.

            Private messaging my youthful friends is something I do sparingly and always with a legitimate purpose in mind:  a reminder to complete a specific task, or a response to a query about a 4-H project.  Also, I rarely private message a youthful friend – or even send an email – without also sending a copy to his or her parent.  (I’ve learned that the parental influence is an effective motivation for completion of a task.)  A parent needs to know I am talking to his child.

            What concerns me now is the potential of adult friends on my Facebook page private messaging my young friends.  That’s creepy.  Don’t do it.  If a young person’s photo appears on my page, don’t private message her to tell her how good she looks.  As innocent as your intentions might be, she might be creeped out.  Worse yet, she might not, and be further lured into a relationship with someone who does not have her best interests in mind.  And just as bad, you can be accused of trolling my Facebook page to groom young people for exploitation.  Unless you are already friends with my friends, do not private message them.

            I suspect that this has already happened with my page, but I can’t prove it.  If I find out you have done this, I will unfriend you.  I already have my privacy protections set so that the general public cannot see who my friends are.  In the coming days, I will be reviewing and revising my privacy protections to further protect the youthful friends on my page.  If in the future you cannot see all the friends on my page, you now know why.

Daniel R. Miller is a deputy prosecutor in Warrick County, Indiana

2 New Facebook Timesavers

This morning, I discovered 2 new Facebook improvements in their interface. Google+ has gotten them to raise their game.

  1. If you comment underneath a status and after you hit enter, you realize you made an error that you would like to correct, immediately click on the X. That used to just delete your comment so you would start over.  Now, it lets you re-edit your original comment. Time saved. Happy user.
  2. In the upper right corner where it lists happy birthdays, click on the link to wish someone a happy birthday. A popup will appear where you can write the happy birthday greeting but stay on your original page.

Time savers make busy mothers and busy business owners happy. Thanks, Facebook.

Google+ Joins the Social Media Playground

playgroundphoto © 2006 Azfar Ismail | more info (via: Wylio)

What do businesses need to know and do right now with Google+?

Keep your backyard Social Media Playground flexible enough to adjust the layout when a new toy gets introduced to the market.

Early reports look good. With its invitation only roll-out, social media obsessives like me were pumping Twitter networks yesterday to angle invites from friends already there. We liked what we saw. All it took was an invite and a gmail account to get me hooked.

What do Businesses Need to Know:

I hope you didn’t fall so in love with your Facebook page that you made it the inground pool centerpiece of your social media strategy. Facebook owns the platform and loves to change its rules. Arguing with Facebook is as effective as negotiating with the Borg in Star Trek.

If you built the inground Facebook pool, get ready to make adjustments in your other backyard space. Facebook grew too confident and comfortable with its market dominance because there was no viable competitor. In recent months, and especially in recent weeks, I’ve heard varied frustrations from people sick of Facebook. Why?

  • Teens don’t want to hang out on the same block Grandma and Grandpa do.
  • Facebook games lost their luster.
  • Recent spam attacks that showed pornographic images put wavering users over the edge.
  • More people are frustrated at how difficult it is to negotiate with Facebook if they delete your account.

Real competition will force Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to all up their game. This morning, Facebook added sorting and reputation features to comments.

What do Businesses Need to Do:

  • Get an invite to Google+ for at least one person on your social media team. Start playing.
  • Vary the toys on your social media playground. If all you’ve had is the Facebook pool, it’s time to try the Twitter trampoline and the LinkedIn Playhouse.
  • Get thee to WordPress and Youtube. Go blogging with written and video channels. (The Youtube/Google+ connection could become much bigger.)
  • Go mobile. Design your website for mobile. Value added apps your customer uses can make your sales boom.
  • If you choose to stay Facebook only social media marketing, prepare yourself for the day your Facebook pool becomes as relevant as a backyard museum designed for Pet Rocks.

If you need help getting started with Twitter or LinkedIn, I can help. If you don’t know who to go to to create an app, design your website, or set up your blog so you not only win search but make more money, ask me for recommendations.

I know some super talented pros in each of those areas who can help – WordPress design, web design, blogging, video, and app development and would be glad to give you a referral.

Stake Your Name

Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, shooting hawks which have been carrying away his chickens, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC)photo © 1939 The Library of Congress | more info (via: Wylio)
In the 1889 Oklahoma Land Rush, potential homesteaders raced to stake their claims for free land, as was seen in the movie, Far  and Away.

We have been in a Digital Name Rush for the past 20 years, with people racing to save their name in the digital flavor of the day. It can be hard to predict which platform will become next year’s digital flavor, so general advice is to reserve your name when a new platform appears on the horizon.

Sometimes in that Land Rush, there were disputes over claims; if someone left a claim empty, sometimes someone else took it.

The same thing can happen on social media. I recently learned of high school teachers who opted not to be on Facebook. However, some of their students who didn’t like them created a fake profile for their hated teachers. They snapped photos in school hallways and wrote malicious updates. The teachers got the accounts disabled. However, the damage had already been done.

My best solution? Stake your name.

Yes, you may think a personal Facebook page is a waste of time. Nevertheless, you need a page to stake your name. Put a recognizable photo of yourself on that profile so people know it is you. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. If you belong in the “I won’t use no Facebook camp,” you still need to gather at least 50 friends.

If the unexpected happens, and someone creates a faux you, you have a defense and friends who can help you report the faux you. This is a preventative Facebook measure.

Oh – and if your friend needs to hire someone to help them set up that profile or learn to use Facebook without being burned, I would be glad to help. I might even show them some ways they can use Facebook to build their communities, help their friends, and develop their personal brands.

The Socializer

“I can do this!” one of my clients exclaimed after I helped her create a social media schedule that would fit with her business day.

Afterwards, she told people I had “Socialized” her. That inspired this ad campaign, The Socializer. I joked about copy for the ad. Then my husband and daughter of The Copper Lion took my idea of The Socializer last night and created the graphic.

Learning to leverage technology is frustrating. What I do is help you help yourself and find how to make it work for you. We will most likely laugh along the way because a dose of laughter helps the lesson go down.

I wish I could put the theme song to The Equalizer with the graphic. Back in the day, the Equalizer helped equalize the odds of regular people facing tough challenges. I do the same today, as The Socializer.

Frustrated and want to hire some help to make social media (or Excel or Word or Outlook) easier to unravel? Give me a call! Write on my wall! Tweet me! Email me! I’ll be there, ready to help.

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