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Students’ Hub: How to Use Your Privacy Settings on Facebook To Your Best Interest

Written by Alaa (aka Lols)

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all somehow surviving the seemingly never ending curfew. Just hang on there!

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As Cairo prepares her students to start a new semester, so should their Facebook profiles. With social media spiking up to new levels of usage and interest, some- if not most- have seen it as a means to have their day-to-day life “followed”, “liked”, “retweeted” and even “shared”, filling that desire of becoming a celebrity whose life people want to imitate and follow. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it suffices that a person post a status, a photo or even a comment to have others invade one’s life, acceptingly or against one’s wishes. I myself caused a “slight” mishap to a couple of my friends- because I shared a photo that was too much trouble for its worth. long story short, I caused them trouble because I wasn’t following the basic settings of privacy in the out and open “Internet” community.

So why are privacy and discretion as important today as they were always? I’ll try and tell myself before you guys why we should stick with the basic needs of privacy on the social media front:

  1. People can actually “Google” you and find you out. Once registered on Facebook anyone who has a computer, an Internet connection and can guess your name could track you down. The hacker simply types your name and takes over your whole life. That is why you need to remove the option that allows you to get “googled”.
  2. Relationship status; not the best of things to put out there. Whatever happened to having a relationship between JUST two people? Nowadays, people post relationship statuses more than they post about holidays or events. Relationships are private. And frankly we’re not interested. Full stop.
  3. Separation of your work life and social life is a definite must. Did you know that potential employees get checked out through their Facebook profiles? This is the latest method that employers utilize to get to know their potential employees better and better. So quick advice to those who might have some embarrassing skeletons in the closet; make sure the closet is tightly shut on them!
  4. Family members+ Social Media= hell unleashed on Earth! And this, I speak from personal experience. Social Media is usually a free and open venue where you can speak your mind, post whatever it is you want to post and share anything that comes to your liking. However, some of the posts or shares may not actually come in line with what older generations perceive (mainly parents and sometimes, grandparents, uncles and aunts if you are that unlucky *cries silently in a corner*). They will see you as barbaric, vulgar and will question your mental sanity (no joke! Like I said, this point is from personal experience) so, beware of the family…all of them (well except maybe your cousins if they are as cool as mine)!
  5. Stalkers and weird guys; and this point is mainly directed at the ladies. Have you ever had an unknown guy (going by such names as”أمير الغرام” or “عصفور الكناريا”) send you an inbox message telling you how pretty you are, how intense your soul is and how an instantaneous relationship developed between you two? As uncomfortable as this sounds (and quite disturbing at that), privacy will definitely come in handy at keeping these freaks at bay.

So how do you keep away from unwanted trouble? Here’s a tip on how to follow the most basic of privacy settings:

On the right top corner of your Facebook page, you will find an upside down arrow. Click on it and you will find “Settings”.

 

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Next, you will find a selection of options on the left side of the page where “Privacy”, “Timeline and Tagging” and “Blocking” are there.

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You can click on whichever option you want to monitor. We’ll take the “privacy” as an example. Within that page, you’ll find that you’ll be able to manage who can see your stuff posted on your timeline, who can contact you and who can look you up (via search engines and so on). It’s quite simple really. You just create lists. When you do this, you’ll be able to separate between those you work with and those you hang out with, filter away your family’s judgmental and vintage outlook and make sure that no one annoys you because of a status or a post that you shared. You could also eliminate your name from search engines such as Google (as I mentioned earlier on) with this simple step in the same page. You just simply edit the “who can look me up?” portion of the page and turn it off. It’s similar in the privacy settings as it is in the timeline and tagging.

 

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For those who want to “freak-proof” their inbox message, you could always click on the edit button next to “whose messages do I want filtered into my inbox?” and choose between two options as indicated by the following screenshot.

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This following step is for those who want to take extreme measures. “Blocking” someone makes the latter unable to contact you, see your timeline or even engage in any kind of social interaction with you. It’s very easy to apply it and Facebook does an amazing job in simplifying the process through explaining what each tab is all about.

For those of you who are as annoyed by the endless Candy Crush invitations or any other apps that you find annoying, you could always block any further invitations from the app or the person that is sending you the invitation through the “Blocking” options in the settings. Note that doing so will not block the person rather their invitations.

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There is always an easier way to do the privacy management and with Facebook’s new interface, the job is as easy as eating pie (mmm…pie).You could always go to the Facebook profile of the person you wish to “manage your internet relationship” with and click on the “Friends” icon as shown in this screenshot.

 

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From there, you could always adjust how he/she is to you and that way; manage what he/she sees on your timeline. You could add them to your close friends list (that way, they’ll be sure to be in on everything) or add them to your own set of list via the “add to another list” option whether it’s a family member, a colleague at work or an ex-boy/girlfriend you don’t want sneaking around your profile. Better yet, if you don’t have a cordial working relationship with the latter, you could always block or unfriend (I’m not going to even say I’m sorry I used that tip)

It won’t take a few minutes to try and apply those settings, as the new semester approaches, whether a freshman, a sophomore or a senior, you could always re-adjust your privacy settings and mutual internet friendships (in what my lovely Editor-in-Chief Tago likes to call “Spring Cleaning”). Trust me; with those few minutes spent on privatizing your personal space, you’ll save hours and hours of headache that I am sure you don’t want on your hands.

Until next week with a new “College Life” perspective!

 

Your thoughts matter!

So what did you guys think about today’s entry in “College Life”? Did the topic help you out? Or would hoping to hear something on a different note with the new semester fast approaching? Give us your opinion in the comment section below or send them in an email on [email protected]

 

About Alaa Rahman

I’m one of the In-Betweeners. I hover between reality and fiction worlds (of my own creation or currently existent). However, my 28 year old Economic Analyst alter ego at the Egyptian Ministry of Finance keeps me grounded in real life (unfortunately!). I am a big freak when it comes to Harry Potter related basically anything. I love writing; I draw and paint as well as cook and play the violin (still an amateur though!) Kingdom Hearts is – in my opinion – the best fantasy game out there and music is life! I’ll be writing Decisions in a Halo and editing fiction pieces to whoever feels like venturing in the world of myth.

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