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    Privacy Settings? Focus On Your Online Discourse


      Yesterday, I came across a spot-on post by Fastcase, Online Privacy Takes Another Hit which was based on the Slate article, The Leaky Nature of Online Privacy .

      The Slate piece suggests that we consider being more open so that we become more trustworthy. Trustworthy? To whom? I suggest instead, that we pay more attention to tempering our online discourse than concern ourselves with porous privacy settings.

      Facebook does what it wants

      What if all the Facebook privacy settings in the world couldn’t stop someone from prying into the details of your life?, the Fastcase piece asks.

      True, we can’t control what our friends reveal about us online, though I’ve been known to delete a comment or two and untag a slew of pictures. And how many times has Facebook changed privacy settings without letting us know, making our once private information vulnerable?

      And how about when Zynga (makers of Farmville) and Facebook allegedly violated federal law by providing personally identifiable information to third parties?

      We can however, control what we post.

      The irony of Google Plus promoting privacy settings

      Google Plus has heightened Facebook’s awareness of its 750 million users preference for privacy controls. That itself reeks of irony since Google wants to own your online identity.

      It’s especially important to be cognizant of what you post on Google Plus as it’s tied to your real identity.

      Twitter is not immune

      Turn off the location feature on Twitter.  Your conversations and information on Twitter and other social media platforms are subject to subpoena and court orders. Even your DMs. Be aware when you tweet.


      With LinkedIn recommending that users upload their resume to “complete” their profile, more people are doing just that. What’s included in our resumes? Our home address and telephone number. Don’t do it. Or remove the information before uploading.

      I’m not even sure why LinkedIn asks us to do this since they now have a feature where you can turn your profile into a resume.

      Blogging can be dangerous

      A stream of tweets alerted me yesterday to a horrifyingly disturbing trend of Death Threats and Hate Crimes Attacks On Women Bloggers. Engaging in meaningful ways on a bunch of online channels and the notoriety, even celebrity that comes along with it identifies you as a semi-public figure.

      That, of course, doesn’t warrant harassment. But there are goons out there. So, pay attention to what your write about — your kids, your vacation — details that can be exploited. And make sure your contact page doesn’t reveal too much information.

      Foursquare and other location based applications

      I’ve found Foursquare useful — as a sort of diary and as a way to remember prime eating spots or discover new ones. But I see some of my friends checking into “home” or “bed”. And accepting invitations to connect from people they don’t know. Really? You want a stranger to pinpoint exactly where you live? And then monitor your activity so they know when you’re away? Go ahead and use the app, but temper your check-ins and invitations to connect.

      Granted, it is important to pay attention to privacy settings (we’ve often written about online privacy erosion), but not to the point of handcuffing how we engage online, making it a chore. Let’s instead feel free to dive into social media, but think before we post and temper our conversations. We can save the freedom to be ourselves, even our un-PC selves ILR (in real life).

      Remember that?

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