Just about everybody around uses online social networking sites. Whether you are using social networking sites to keep in touch with your friends or if you want to meet new people who have similar interests to your own, there are several steps that you need to take in order to protect yourself and maintain your privacy online. Many people think that they are really safe online because they’re only using social networking sites to talk to friends, or they think that they are completely anonymous. Well, both ideas about online social networking sites are totally wrong.
Here are some different social networking sites that people are using, and here are some ways that you can protect your privacy and maintain your safety when you are using online social networking sites.
Bebo: Bebo functions much like other social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. A user registers for an account for free, and then they can set up their own profile page which they can edit any way that they wish. The profile includes a profile image, which is normally a photo of the account holder/user, and then different types of information. One thing that is different about Bebo from Facebook is that users can choose a particular profile “skin” that each user can either choose or create. Profiles also include a whiteboard upon which other users can draw pictures, a comment section, and a list of friends. All of this information is able to be viewed by the public, unless the user chooses to make his or her profile private. Also, profiles can include blogs, quizzes, images, polls, lists of music that the user likes, and lists of movies. Also, the Bebo Authors tool allows authors to uploa chapters of their books which can then be commented on by users. Also, the mobile phone service, which is only available to O2 Ireland and Orange UK users, allows users to receive updates and editing ability through their phones.
Orkut: Orkut is one of Google’s many different forays into the world of online interaction. Google runs Blogger, Google Reader, and more: Google also runs Orkut. You need to have a Google Account in order to access Orkut, so if you have a blog through Blogger, then you can easily set up an Orkut profile.
Orkut allows you to read through other members’ profiles before you add them as a friend, and can also look at their friends to see how they can be connected to you through the friends network.
Orkut also allows you to join a number of different communities that are organized around different topics. You can search for particular topics and areas for different groups that are organized, and you can always create your own communities geared towards particular areas of interest.
So no matter what social networking site you use, here are some tips that will help you protect your safety and maintain your privacy.
1. Turn off your computer. It might seem like a really simple thing, but most people leave their computers on whether at night or when they are not using them. But if your computer is on, then people can break into your computer. If you have a wireless connection and your wireless switch is on, then you are particularly vulnerable. So turn off your computer.
2. Be careful with your information. Don’t give out too much information. Don’t post your phone number or your email address or your home town or your birthday or your first and your last name.
3. Restrict your privacy. Almost all online social networking sites have privacy settings that you can control. Use those privacy settings and make them as stringent as possible. You do not want people finding out your personal information, so make use of those privacy settings and keep yourself safe.