Privacy settings aid fearless self-expression

March 11, 2015

Royal Purple Staff Opinion

As college students preparing to enter the professional work force, we are constantly being warned about the consequences of our actions. Thanks to social media, our latest and greatest “adventures” can be shared with the world. It’s a blessing and a curse that the generations before us never had to face.

Naturally, you don’t want your future employers to see that embarrassing picture from last Thursday night, or that angry status you made in the heat of the moment about that stupid lady who cut you off in traffic.

But there’s good news… there are privacy settings for that. Don’t let the fear of future employers dictate what you post any longer, because you are in control, and you can decide who has access to any level of posts or pictures.

We are undoubtedly a generation that craves and appreciates self-expression. Thus, the high use of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and various sites provide us with a platform to talk about who we are, what we like and how we feel about any given topic.

While this can sometimes get annoying or uncomfortable (like that one person who posts angry political rants all the time or the person who constantly takes selfies for no particular reason), it is beneficial to be able to express one’s self in these various ways.

This does NOT mean it is OK to post pictures of you doing illegal or inappropriate things, nor does this article condone posting pictures of your drunkness at a party and calling it “your true self.”

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: Don’t post things you probably wouldn’t say in person to the people who will read that post. Would Grandma, who happens to be a Facebook friend, be uncomfortable with your inappropriate language use? Then maybe you shouldn’t post that—or maybe you should block the post from her view.

Few people realize that Facebook alone provides you tools in regards to privacy settings. Privacy is the subject that we’re all afraid of but don’t put much effort into controlling; however, it’s easier than ever to take charge of who sees what on your profile.

First of all, unless you are a relatively tame person, you should not have your profile available to the entire public. Think of anyone on earth using the Internet… Is it OK if they read your personal statuses and look at all your pictures? That’s leaving yourself a bit too exposed.

Second, there is a magical tool called “Friends Lists.” While Facebook automatically creates some for you (example: eight of your friends work at the same place as you, so they will be in your “Work” friends list), you can also create them yourself.

Maybe you really want to post something that you are nervous about a few of your friends seeing. That’s do-able! Simply click on the privacy settings in the corner as you are making the status, and select “custom” which will allow you to enter the names of those few friends you’d rather not share your post with.

There are plenty of options when it comes to controlling what your Facebook audience can see. You just have to pay more attention to the options you have and utilize them.

Facebook should not have to be your professional platform. That’s why LinkedIn exists. LinkedIn is purely about professionalism and networking; Facebook is personal and social.

Self-expression is important because it allows us to share who we are with the world, and that’s a great feeling. It allows us to have discussions on topics that are important to us and we are passionate about.

Don’t let fear dictate self-expression. Nothing feels better than to be your true, authentic self and if you’re smart about it, then you won’t have problems with career-hunting in the future.

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