Jewish Journal


November 1, 2011

You have no privacy. What to do about being exposed on the internet



Standard Facebook Privacy Settings

“Information on the Internet is subject to the same rules and regulations as conversation at a bar.” -George Lundberg
Like most of my friends, I’m extremely selective about what I choose to post on my Facebook page. Even when I write to my friends, I meticulously read over the post before I decide to brand myself on their walls.  I want to make sure I wrote the correct variation of the word “your,” the word “their,” and the word “too”—even I make those mistakes sometimes. And I’m a language stickler.

When it comes to my profile pictures, I’m even more of a nitpicker. Though I rarely upload new ones, I’ll ask some of my friends questions like “Is this default-worthy?” or “Should I crop it?” before I upload a picture that will be displayed on an icon wherever I comment or click the “like” button. I ask not because I want to make sure I look absolutely beautiful on Facebook, but because I want to ensure that I don’t send the wrong message… to anyone.

I learned a few years ago that employers and even schools look up prospective applicants on Facebook and other sites.  I don’t think my last employer would have hired me if he looked me up and was greeted by a picture of me in a bikini at my friend’s pool party. The red cup in my hand could have been filled with pure H20, but the setting would have suggested otherwise.

People judge. There is nothing we can do about this. I don’t want to judge anybody, but sometimes I do it too. And even though I don’t like to judge out loud, when somebody writes something offensive, or posts a picture that I find distasteful or insulting, I can’t help but develop an aversion.

For this very reason, I urge you to be meticulous about what you post—your pictures, your status updates, and even your wall posts. Adjust your privacy settings, but don’t be surprised when your ex-boyfriend logs onto his friend’s account, only to find that your last status update was a YouTube link to the song “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child. Expect to be judged for that too.

By the way, “Survivor” is outdated. It’s acceptable for your “Moving On” iTunes playlist, but if you want to be more relevant, try “Someone Like You” by Adele.

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