From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to blogs, everyone leaves a digital trail as they browse the web. Most of the time, you don’t realize how much of your information is freely available online until it is too late: sites such as Spokeo, MyLife aggregate all your information online and any website where you login with Twitter or Facebook grabs your information upon sign in. Luckily, with a few tricks, you can better protect your information online.
1. Don’t Use the Same Username on Multiple Sites
We all want to keep things as easy as possible, and since almost every website requires some sort of registration, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of using the same username and password each time you register on a site. Even if you never enter all of your basic information (first name, last name, phone number, email) on every site, people searching services compile all that information based on your username.
For example, if you put your email on one site, phone number on another, and keep the same first name and last initial, Spokeo, MyLife and others realize you’re the same person on all these sites. Since your username is usually made publicly available online, it will appear on search engines. If you don’t watch your privacy settings on every site, your phone number and email may become publicly listed as well. Before you know it, your phone number and email are on all the people look-up sites.
Assignment: Search for Your Email. How good are you at keeping your information private online? Put your email into a search engine and see the results!
2. Watch Your Social Media Privacy Settings
Facebook and Google are the biggest culprits in trying to create a “personalized web browsing experience”. The problem: these sites are tracking who you are and where you go online (and offline if you are signed into these accounts on your phone). If you want to retain any kind of privacy then you should set your privacy settings on these platforms.
Assignment: Check Your Targeted Ads While on logged onto Facebook, go to a website about a specific topic. Then go back to Facebook and see their ads change to entice you with something about that website. Try the same while logged into Google.
3. Don’t Sign into Websites with Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn
Again, it’s always just easier to sign in with a pre-existing account to save yourself time on the registration process, but this is how these sites access so much information about you. The best way to optimize your privacy is to keep all your information separated. By signing in with these accounts you essentially give all your information to the site you register on. Treat your information with the significance it deserves–don’t pass it out like a bag of cookies!
Assignment: Connecting with Facebook Go to any website that has a Facebook sign in option. Click connect to Facebook, then read all the information the site will have access to. Now think: do you want this site having all this information about you?
Reputation911 Privacy Tip : By constantly logging out of social networking sites and Google and by making different usernames on each site, you will successfully achieve internet privacy keep your information offline.
Your Personal or Business Brand is now just a “click” away for all the world to see. If you don’t take control of your personal or business online brand, someone else will. Brand Management vs. Reputation Management ? It’s one and the same.