Article, Social Media

Social Networking Websites: Who Is Reading Your Personal Information?

It is estimated that each day, a fairly large number of individuals
make the decision to join a social networking
website.  Social networking websites are websites that
allow internet users to easily connect with other internet
users, often from all around the world. While social net-
working websites are a great way to make online friends or
start an online relationship, there are many internet users
who are misinformed when it comes to social networking web-
sites. That misinformation is largely centered on who can
see their personal information.

Since a social networking website is often compared to a
community, you would assume that only other community
members would be able to read your personal information,
right?  In the real world, an unknown individual cannot
just decide that they want to move into your neighborhood
and live in your front yard, spying on your every move, so
why should it happen online?  If that is your way of thinking,
you are wrong, in most cases.  Unfortunately, many internet
users are largely unaware of the fact that just about anyone
can view their social networking profiles, including non
community members.  

As previously mentioned, there are a large number of
social networking websites that allow anyone one with
internet access to view the profiles or profile pages of
their members. In fact, the number is higher than you may
have ever imagined. At the current time, just a few popular
of the social networking websites that allow any internet
user to view your profile. That is why it is important
that you examine what is actually posted in your profile
or on your personal profile page before publishing it.

Although being cautious may take away from the fun of
joining a social networking program, you are advised to
be cautious. This cautiousness may help keep you safe.
When building your social networking profile or profile
page, especially on a website that anyone can view, you
are advised to carefully select the pictures that you
post. If you post a personal picture of your self, you are
advised against posting your full name and, especially,
your address. With a picture, your full name, and your
address, an internet user with devious thoughts could
spell trouble.

If you are one of the many social network users who wants
to display your information, you are encouraged to learn
more about private profile settings.  Private profile
settings will limit the number of individuals who can view
your website. Although your profile’s private setting may
prevent other network members from seeing your profile, it
will also prevent anyone else from seeing it. The only catch
with doing this is that since other community members cannot
see your profile, you will have to be the one to contact
with any new friends that you would like to invite to your
network.  

In addition to joining a social networking website that
allows you to set your profile as private, you can join
a network that automatically has profiles set as private.
These social networking websites include, but are not
limited to, Orkut and Facebook.  With Orkut and Facebook,
your profile will only be seen by other members. In fact,
Facebook also limits the members that can see your profile.
This is done to help ensure your safety online. However,
as with all other social networking websites, it is fairly
easy for you to make online connections and friends, but,
in away, these private profile networking sites are a safer
way to make those connections.

Now that you know exactly how social networking websites
work and who can gain access to your personal information,
you should know what you should and should not put in your
profile or on your profile page.  Although you are not
required to change your information, you should at least
think about it. As the old saying goes, you never know who
is watching you.

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