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10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy on Social Media

10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy on Social Media

Our social lives have experienced a complete upheaval in the last decade. Social media and online networking is entwined with our everyday lives. These accounts can provide us with great ways to keep in touch with friends and family, especially if you’re separated by vast physical distances. However, social media also opens up major privacy concerns, since we often reach broader audiences than we intend to. Online identities can prove problematic as people apply to jobs, build relationships, or even try to avoid cyber stalkers. Here are 10 ways to crack down on your social media privacy settings and take control over what people see.

1. Protecting Your Tweets

If your account on Twitter is public, then each tweet can potentially reach an unlimited audience. The keywords and hashtags in your posts will be searchable by the public. If you don’t need to communicate with the public at large, then you might want to consider switching over to a protected Twitter account. Protected posts are only visible to followers that have your approval. This can be an ideal way to network with your close friends, family, and audience members. It gives you an intimate space to share updates with a select group of people. Also, protected Tweets won’t be indexed by search engines, so no one will be able to view your Twitter updates when they Google you.

2. Turning Off LinkedIn Activity Broadcasts

So maybe you’re looking for a job and you start following several companies on LinkedIn. The only problem is that these interactions are broadcast on your activity feed. This can alert your current employer that you’re searching for new work. Do your connections really need to know every time you make a change to your profile, follow companies, or write recommendations? If not, dig into your Activity Broadcasts setting and uncheck this feature.

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3. Restricting LinkedIn Update Followers

LinkedIn allows users to post updates, much like the status updates of Facebook. Other people, including those outside of your network circles, have the option to subscribe to these updates without adding you as a connection. By clicking on the privacy setting, “Choose who can follow your updates,” you can restrict this audience to your connections, rather than the public at large.

4. Limiting Future and Past Facebook Posts

Think about the nature of your Facebook posts. Unless you’re trying to promote products or services to the public, then it’s a good idea to keep your personal posts private. Seemingly innocuous public posts can become risks in the future. For example, you might not believe that publicly posting about your vacation is a major concern. However, this information could be used by criminals hoping to target unattended homes. You can restrict the audience of your past and future Facebook posts by visiting the “Privacy Settings and Tools” section and changing the settings under “Who can see my stuff?”

5. Changing Facebook Friend Request Settings

Spammers and cybercriminals will sometimes target users with public Facebook profiles, attempting to phish information by sending out random messages and friend requests. You can reduce risks to your online identity by restricting friend requests to “Friends of Friends” in the “Who can contact me?” section of Facebook’s privacy settings.

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6. Preventing Search Engines from Indexing Your Facebook

Do you want anyone to find your Facebook posts when they type your name into a search engine? How about prospective employers? You can quickly turn off search engine indexing by unchecking the “Let other search engines link to your timeline” box in Facebook’s privacy settings.

7. Preventing Facebook Email and Phone Lookup

If you want to prevent members of the public from looking up your Facebook account using your phone number or email address, then visit Facebook’s privacy settings, navigate to the “Who can look me up?” section, and change the drop-down menu option to “Friends” or “Friends of Friends.”

8. Not Referring to Other Social Media Accounts

Many social media platforms allow you to fill in a profile field linking over to your other social networking accounts. However, it can be a good idea to maintain a separation between accounts, especially if they involve different personal and professional identities. For example, you might not want LinkedIn audiences to find your Facebook account. Avoid connecting these accounts to increase the privacy and security of your digital identities.

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9. Forcing Facebook Tag Reviews

Let’s say you enjoy a fun night out, drinking with friends at a bar. One of your friends wants to post and tag a particularly embarrassing photo of you shotgunning beer. You can prevent some awkward conversations by requiring tag request approval before your name is linked to a post or photo. This prevents others from attaching your name to content without your consent. Change these settings by visiting Facebook’s “Timeline and Tagging” section.

10. Create Custom Facebook Restricted Groups

You can micromanage precisely which friends see your Facebook posts by creating custom groups. For example, you might not want to unfriend an ex, but you might want to block them from viewing the majority of your posts. Just click “Friends” on your Facebook sidebar and scroll down to the “Restricted” list. Add friends to this list, and they will only be able to see the posts that you mark as “Public.”

Now do you feel like you have greater control over who sees your social media posts? Reducing the amount of public visibility can increase the overall security of your online identity.

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Featured photo credit: Jeff Sheldon via unsplash.com

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Larry Alton

Business Consultant

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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