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Facebook Connections and Reputation Management

facebbok icon These days one can be either hired or fired based on what employers find on our Facebook pages and reputation management has become a focus for bloggers. The reality is that much of the web is designed, not so much to share information, as to sell it. It’s also a reality bloggers today, more than ever before, have many demands on their time and social media networking to create an authentic online presence can be a time drain.

A new study by the Pew Research Center showed more adult Internet users are keeping track of their reputations online than in years past, with young adults aged 18 to 29 more likely than older adults to take steps to protect themselves.

“Search engines and social media sites now play a central role in building one’s identity online,” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and lead author of the report, “Many users are learning and refining their approach as they go–changing privacy settings on profiles, customizing who can see certain updates and deleting unwanted information about them that appears online.”

I have just read Ben Rothke’s take on Facebook and would like to share his insights with you. (Please click through and read the whole article.)

There is a similar paradox when it comes to Facebook. The paradox is why people openly share such private information as their date of birth (amongst myriad other personal details) in their Facebook profile. … As of mid-June, only 7,539 of Facebook users have liked the official Facebook and Privacy page — 7,539 is but .000018% of Facebook users, not exactly banging down the privacy door. In other words, an infinitesimal amount of Facebook users seem to truly care about privacy. … — The Facebook privacy paradox

Read also:
10 reasons to quit facebook (and one reason to stay on) on
5 Facebook, Twitter scams to avoid

“Connections.” It’s an innocent-sounding word. But it’s at the heart of some of the worst of Facebook’s recent changes.

EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) wrote at length about the problems created by transforming personal information into “Connections” to allow far more people than ever before access to it, regardless of whether you want them to.
Six Things You Need to Know About Facebook Connections
How to Opt Out of Facebook’s Instant Personalization

I am not a Facebook member. Now that the dust has settled following the big brouhaha I’m wondering how my readers who are Facebook members fared. If you are a Facebook member did you stay? Or did you join the 36,000 departing Facebook members in the exodus?

Related posts found in this blog:
5 Facebook Questions for Bloggers
Handle Online Attacks Effectively
Six free comment tracking services for bloggers
Blogging: Online presence and authenticity

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16 thoughts on “Facebook Connections and Reputation Management

  1. The whole concept of Facebook is to be profitable by selling your personal tastes and interest to 3rd party. You have to decide if that is acceptable to you or not.

  2. I mistrust the whole ethos of Facebook although I love the concept – I would gladly use an alternative if I could get my friends to move too, but therin lies the problem. I loved the Starbucks analogy Dan made, I know just what he means.

    I use Facebook to keep in touch and I once used to use it to try and promote my blog and shop – but I began to detest this numbing mindset whereby you cannot afford to turn down any friends requests at all, just in case that is where the money may lie. I couldn’t work out if it was Facebook it’s self that made my skin crawl or just self promotion as a whole :D Anyway, I deleted my business profile recently. I just think it’s nuts to lay open so much information like that. I now have a personal profile with maximum privacy lockdown, a very paired down friends list and minimal personal information, and since that layout change and privacy hoo haa I got rid of every single excess thing that lived on my profile that I could find, I feel much better now, but still don’t trust them. I still have a couple of (neglected) facebook pages for my business, I have to admit.

    • @Bird
      It’s very important to understand that your personal information is never removed from the Faecbook database. Also if you use any third party app on the Facebook site then your presumed “locked down personal information” is made available to the providers of the third party app. Not only your “friends” can see your personal information but the friends of your friends also have access to it.

  3. Thought provoking as always, Timethief, thank you (I hope you never get bored of hearing that word!). I was horrified the day I logged in and saw my FB profile likes/dislikes had been converted to page links, and then and there i deleted everything and went bare-bones for info and spent about three hours slogging through their privacy settings. As the articles point out, it’s a wretched process, but you can control what people see publicly to some degree. I went back and checked again, was mostly ok, but did modify one or two things further.

    I do struggle with this should I or not? But the fact is, a potential job offer has come to me from someone who became aware of me and my professional knowledge and skills through the combination of my blog and Facebook. If I hadn’t used my real name I might not be on the brink of a dream job.

    Professionally (wine trade) FB has been a terrific source of contacts and information. I do vet strangers who want to be-friend me, and turn down most, unless I determine they are winemakers, for example. Even then, I try to taste the wines first! I admit I have hesitated to link on FB with people I in fact know well, because I know they aren’t terribly professional, shall we say, in their use of FB. So, for now, I’m staying, but I do keep asking myself about it.

    • @Cynthia,
      I don’t have a Facebook account and never will. I’m well aware of the data mining and want no part of a site that provides marketers and advertisers personal information.

      A quiz designed by the ACLU that shows Facebook users just how much information they hand over to application developers every time they agree to install a new app. Want to take that quiz to find out who you were in a past life? Each time you do, (use an app) almost everything on your profile, even if you use privacy settings to limit access, is made available to the creators of that application.

      How to Opt Out of Facebook’s Instant Personalization

      From phishing scams that play to your curiosity, to criminals posing as friends to steal your identity and money, the latest ways scam artists set up to con you is via social networks.

      I am a Twitter user but I’m no addict. I have deleted hundreds of unwanted followers and I watch my account closely.

  4. Pingback: Maximum Facebook privacy « Always Well Within

  5. Although there could be a whole lot of debate on Facebook, It’s usage, It’s applicability, It’s effects on the society/culture, It’s do’s and dont’s. and especially the security of Facebook which has always been a question mark.

    For New Facebook User’s I would recommend:

    1: Before launching it for public review the security tab and tweet it accordingly.
    2: Never add any one whom you don’t know very personal.
    3: For Friend’s Friend always tick a no view.

  6. I have over Two Hundreds friends on Facebook and I know everyone very well.
    I believe Facebook has turned from status update to a Youtube/Farmville/Mafia-wars update culture.
    I hardly see anyone update his/her status with I am having a lovely Bar-B-Que at the —–restaurant rather they brat about farming or defeating a Don or uploading a link to a new youtube video.

    I normally log in once a day for a few minutes to seek for any messages and close it.

  7. Facebook is a lot like Starbucks: the product tastes horrible, but for some strange reason, it’s where your friends all want to hang out.

    I maintain a MINIMAL online presence through Facebook – exposing just enough so that associates can contact me, should they choose to do so. Otherwise, it’s just may name and a picture of me and my cat.

    Thanks for the info, timethief.


    • @Dan
      You have taken the same approach many others I know have taken. They aren’t into Facebook friending, poking, gaming, fake farming, buying and selling and all the rest of the useless time wasting activities there. They are there but in a very minimal way.

  8. This is an excellent information, thank you Time Thief. I thought I had corrected my Facebook privacy settings, but when I followed the instructions in the article above I was surprised to find SO much still turned on. I can’t thank you enough.

    I have quite a number of friends all over the world and Facebook is an efficient way to stay connected with them. That’s the only reason I’ve stayed so far.

    Thanks and BTW, you rawk!

    • @Sandra
      I’m so very happy to hear this was a useful article. I have family members and friends who have their settings on the down low. They aren’t selling or buying anything. They just want to keep in touch as they are close. Three of them made additional adjustments to their settings as well. And thanks so much for the compliment [blushing].
      Peace be within thee always,

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