4 Tips to Track Your Social Footprint

Consumer protection, Safety, Technology, Tips & how-to

Chatter across the Internet is abuzz these days over privacy issues.  At the center is Facebook, with its 400 million registered users,  who are very much divided over the social giant’s latest change that extends your actions and preferences across the entire web. While some people are threatening to quit Facebook altogether, others are suggesting that perhaps we should adapt a new attitude.  Or maybe online privacy doesn’t exist anymore?

Regardless of your thoughts on Facebook, or any other network in which you participate – as long as you are interacting online in one way or another – here are some best practices for keeping tabs on your social footprint:

1) Monthly check ups. Make it a habit to check on your privacy settings and the privacy policies of the social networks you visit most often. This may involve a simple review of your account settings or spend 15 minutes looking at the social network’s blog for product announcements or privacy pages for any update in its policy language.

2) Refresh passwords. While these recent privacy concerns are not directly related to password security, it is also smart to change your passwords every month to make sure your information is protected.

3) Privacy tools. There are several free tools available that will evaluate your online presence, including within social networks, and show what the public can see about you:

Reclaim Privacy
Google Alerts

Also remember, another quick search can be done by logging out of your social network and doing a name search within the network as well as via Google.

4) Don’t put it online. Your online actions should mirror your offline actions. And, if there is ever a doubt whether or not something should be shared, don’t share it.  Once information is online, you cannot ‘take it down’ or ‘take it back’.  Better to be safe than sorry.