If you not comfortable with a lot of your life being “exposed” and out there for many people to learn about, you probably need to put your mouse down and retreat to the pre-1990s.
Those of you who are still here and not willing to give up the Internet for your privacy, you don’t have to just accept the status quo. You can be proactive about how much information you have out there and how much you want to share.
Start with your Facebrook profile. Apparently, only about 20% of Facebook members bother to adjust these settings that some critics say default too much away from “Privacy.” Under the “Settings” menu, at the top of the page, click on “manage” next to “Privacy” and then on the “Profile” link that brings you to a page to adjust 10 different facets of your profile.
Now, you can adjust your settings and restrict the amount of personal information revealed to at least three different levels, narrowing the numbers as you go: 1) My Networks and Friends, 2) Friends of Friends 3) Only Friends
When you are done adjusting your profile privacy settings, you can move on to the privacy settings for “Search” described as a way “to control who on Facebook can find you through search. Your Friends will always be able to find you.”
The first thing you have to decide is “Search Visibility.” This is how you can limit who finds your profile, if they enter your name in the Facebook search box at the top of the page. The options run from “Everyone” to “Only Friends.”
Next you can decide how much of your personal information is revealed to the searcher. Facebook calls this section “Search Result Content.”
Use these checkboxes to control what people can see about you, and how people can contact you after finding you in search. Below are the options as they appear on the page:
“People who can see me in search can see:
My profile picture
My friend list
A link to add me as a friend
A link to send me a message
Pages I am a fan of”
The final section of these privacy settings is the “Public Search Listing” section where you can tell Facebook not to create a public search listing so that your Facebook profile doesn’t appear if someone enters your name into a Yahoo!, Google, or some other search site box. By the way, Facebook assures that minors are not allowed to have public search listings to help prevent online predator solicitations.
If you are at all concerned about being found via Facebook by folks you don’t want to hear from, you definitely should take the time to tailor these settings to meet your need for privacy. It takes only a few minutes. You’re done. Now, go to the other sites you have memberships with and make sure your privacy settings there are also adjusted to meet you confidentiality needs.