In my last post, I discussed how to check your privacy settings on LinkedIn and promised that my next post would cover privacy settings for Facebook. What prompted this privacy topic were questions that were asked during recent public presentations I made on social media, including:
- Should I create a 2nd LinkedIn profile if I’m considering a career in a different industry?
- Is there a way I can hide my LinkedIn profile, or parts of it, so that someone doesn’t think I’m over-qualified?
- Can I temporarily suspend my LinkedIn profile while I make certain changes?
- Should I create a 2nd Facebook profile – one for fun and one for a professional footprint?
- Should I create a Facebook business page for myself for professional purposes?
To start with Facebook, let me specifically address questions 4 and 5 above. The answer to each is a definitive NO. First of all, it’s against Facebook’s community standards to maintain a second personal account. Secondly, a business page is meant to promote a business. If you simply want people to see certain information and updates, but not all (especially the information and updates you consider “personal”) then you need to adjust your privacy settings accordingly, rather than creating a business page. Here’s how and where you do that . . .
The fastest way to check your privacy settings is to use the padlock icon in the toolbar. From there, you can change who can see your future posts, you can see and review things you’ve posted on Facebook (activity log) and you can see how others view your Facebook timeline by selecting a public view (those you’re not friends with) or what a specific friend sees on your timeline. If you have your default setting for posts set to friends (that’s what mine is set for), then there will be a difference between a public view and a friend’s view.
Each of these settings in the first drop-down menu under the padlock icon should be reviewed in detail. If you previously had your default setting for posts set to public, consider whether there is something you’ve posted in the past that can be viewed negatively. In addition to your timeline posts, click on each of the tabs under your banner picture (About, Friends, Photos, More). Are you satisfied with what can be seen publicly? Are there things you need to make private (or friends only)?
At the bottom of the drop-down menu under the padlock icon are two links that you should also review: More Settings and Privacy Basics. These areas are where you can truly fine-tune your settings. For example, you can change the visibility of past posts, you can turn on/off whether or not search engines outside of Facebook can link to your profile, and you can review the settings for when you’re tagged in posts.
If you’re looking for work, at minimum you should have your work history and contact information (including links to websites and other social media accounts) visible to the public. In its 2015 annual survey, Jobvite found that 92% of all recruiters are using social media as part of their job. While LinkedIn naturally leads the field at 87%, Facebook is second with 55%. The lesson learned is over half of the recruiters will use Facebook – regardless of whether or not you want to use Facebook as part of your job search. This same Jobvite article also shares the kinds of posts that recruiters view positively and negatively. Don’t forget, if you comment on a post on Facebook, others can see that regardless of your own privacy settings! Perhaps you have some Facebook clean-up to do?
Here’s how I manage my Facebook account…
- I’m pretty selective with who I connect with on Facebook. I treat Facebook as I would my “backyard cookout.” If I don’t know you well-enough to invite you to a backyard cookout I might have, chances are you’ll have to follow my public updates on Facebook (which I’ve allowed) to see my posts.
- I’ve set past and future posts to friends only by default. If and when I have a post that I do want the public to see (a professional article, a blog post, an announcement about a public speaking engagement, a milestone event, etc.), I will intentionally change the visibility setting for that particular post from friends to public.
- I’ve created lists and will intentionally change the visibility setting for a particular post from friends to a specific list. For example, since I live in Western NY, do my friends and family in Florida need to see my post about a lost dog I’ve found? Creating and using lists allow you to be a “good citizen” of Facebook by reducing the timeline clutter of irrelevant posts.
- Remember that profile pictures and cover pictures are visible to the public by default, so choose them wisely!
- I also review every time I’m tagged and decide whether or not that’s something that I want to appear on my timeline. Please note that if you choose not to have a post you’re tagged in appear on your timeline, it still appears on their timeline.
By knowing how the privacy settings work and how/where to change them, you can continue to use your ONE personal account for personal and professional purposes!