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Facebook: protecting your privacy

The question is how much should you reveal to your work colleagues and the wider world about your inner self?

As we expose ourselves more and more on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and other social media there's a dilemma for some people of how much you should reveal.

Personally, I don't have a problem as I tend to use social media for communicating what I'm happy for people to know. So I keep it clean, not too emotive and not too politically motivated, knowing that potential employers and bosses can see my posts at any time.

But others who have grown up with social media use it more like an intimate chat with a group of friends about what's going on, how they're feeling and how their love life is progressing. That's OK, until you start mixing business with pleasure.

The question is how much should you reveal to your work colleagues and the wider world about your inner self? Are you opening yourself up to personal dangers, possible job destroying moments or sabotaging possibilities in the workplace?

When you say on Facebook, things like; "I had a really crappy day at work today," and proceed to tell everyone your woes, you are telling - not just your close friends - but possibly your boss, work colleagues, friends of friends, and so on. This sort of statement could make you sound petty, incompetent and a real whinger.

It's not a good look and could also signify other things to social media connections who are more threats than friends. For example, you are venting your frustrations while being home alone. This could make you vulnerable to the office sleaze who loves nothing better than comforting an upset colleague (if you know what I mean!). Alternatively, it might signify that you are ripe for ambitious colleagues to walk right over you in the promotion stakes because your personal life is a bit of a disaster.

So, here are a few ways you can maintain your personal integrity and only communicate on certain issues with those you really want to. These instructions are for a personal computer, using IE. Setting buttons will be in different positions on your mobile or tablet.

Adjust your Facebook settings and control who you share with. There are three main ways of doing this. Go to the little locked padlock on the top right of your screen in the blue band, click on it and choose "See More Settings". This will make settings come up on the left hand screen band, below the Facebook symbol.

Use Privacy Settings and Tools:

Click on the Privacy icon and adjust settings at the right to suit. You can customise who sees your future posts, who can contact you and who can look you up.

Timeline and Tagging

Click on Timeline and Tagging and adjust the individual settings to the right to suit. You can customise who can add things to your timeline, who can see things on it and how you can manage tags, where others have mentioned you in posts.

Blocking

By touching on the third icon down, you can also specifically block people from sending you things on Facebook. You can choose who and how. If someone is bothering you or driving you crazy with their posts, block them.

Although social networking is supposed to be fun, we live in an age where we have to be aware of what we say at all times. This is especially true if you are friends with work colleagues. Although you are cordial or friendly with these individuals at work, it doesn't mean that he or she wouldn't report you to a member of upper management should one of your posts offend him or her. When it comes to job security, it is wise not to delve too deeply into your emotions and keep complaints about your job, workplace or co-workers offline and out of a public forum.

Tell us what you think. Do you agree or disagree?

This is an edited version of a post that was originally published on TAFEnow on 28 November 2013. TAFEnow is an Australia-wide online provider, operating out of North Coast TAFE, one of the 10 TAFE NSW Institutes. Enquiries can be directed to tafenow.com.au.