People are all excited about the impending Facebook IPO, but the real story in social media today is PRIVACY. If you’re a Google user (is there one person left in the world who isn’t?), they are tracking your every move online including your Gmail. If you’re a Facebook user (again, who isn’t), then brace yourself. Facebook is about to roll out a Timeline feature that will enable anyone, even recruiters and employers(yikes!), to search your entire Facebook history of photos and wall posts.
Sure You Can Opt Out...
…but both Google and Facebook set you up with minimal privacy settings by default. If you want to hide your personal data, you have to dig around in your settings. Most people just go with the defaults and trust the Internet giants to look out for their best interests. Which means people and organizations that do not have your best interest in mind will have more access to sensitive personal information than ever before.
Best Policy: Assume Everything is Public
I deal with the growing lack of privacy by assuming that everything I do online is public. Almost everything. It’s like being on a reality TV show. There are no private conversations. And the final show many not be edited in your favor.
The Upside for Job Seekers
Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are making it so easy for you to build a positive personal brand online. You can create a trail of personal information that lets your true nature shine through.
We Live in a Transparent World
People can see all of those times you reach out to help someone in a support forum. You can publish your resume and a portfolio of your best work online for everyone to see. Including people who might want to hire you. You can tweet and share valuable information that shows that you are on top of the latest trends in your field.
Tweak those Privacy Settings
When you’re logged into your Google account you have access to Google privacy tools. For example, you can edit or turn off your Search history, switch Gmail chat to “off the record,” control the way Google tailors ads to your interests, and use Incognito mode on Chrome.
To access your Google Privacy settings, sign into your Google account. Then click on your name or your image in the top right corner and select Privacy from the menu that pops up. This is where you can change all of the default Google privacy settings to a level of privacy that you are comfortable with.
- Go to How You Connect and change the settings for “Who can post on your timeline?” and “Who can see posts by others on your timeline?” from “Public” to “Friends.”
- Go to How Tags Work and change the settings for “Maximum Timeline Visibility” from “Public” to “Friends.”
- Go to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts” and click “Manage Past Post Visibility,” then “Limit Old Posts.” This will change all past posts to Friends-only, even if you initially made them public.
Extreme Privacy: If you want to be the only one who can see the posts, change those settings to “Custom” and choose “Only Me”
- Place the cursor on your name at the top right corner of the screen. From the small pull down menu that appears, select “Settings”
- Then click “Account” on the bottom left corner
- In the column next to Account, select the options that you want to tweak.
- and Save
How Do You Feel About the Loss of Privacy?
Is the new transparency working for you or against you? Do you plan to tweak your setting to make your information more private?