What is it about Facebook that draws us all like moths to a flame?
It's a great place to keep in touch with distant relatives, coordinate things with local friends and be a bit of a snoop with those old high school flames. Still, as convenient and fun as it is, you want to do what you can to protect your privacy and your computer.
Here are five Facebook tips and tricks that you may not have known and some that may be a reminder:
1. Don't click on video links that start with things like "See what this father saw when he walked in on his daughter". There are several like this, including one about child birth.
A tip I picked up is to look for the typical Facebook links on the bottom of the post. If the hyperlinked words "Like Comment Share" aren't under the post or are out of order, there's a good chance that it's a virus.
A helpful rule of thumb is to not click on links unless you know the source. If you see something you want to click on, go to Google and type it in the search box. You'll find it, if it's legit.
2. Clean up Facebook clutter. How many times do you look at your Facebook "Home" page to be overwhelmed by the number of game notifications? Those things annoy me.
No offense to any Facebook gamers, but I don't want to see anyone's gaming history. I don't care how many nails you need to finish your barn in Farmville. Nor do I want invites to play games.
For detailed directions on how to get rid of these notifications, click here.
3. Figure out who is looking at your profile the most. I didn't think there was a way to do this, but, according to Science 2.0, there kind of is.
Okay, it's not going to give you hard stats, if that's what you want, but it will give you a good idea of who is viewing your profile most often.
My thoughts are that it should be people who comment and like your posts and pictures the most, so there may not be any surprises. On the other hand, there may be several surprises. Whether or not they are unpleasant is for you to decide!
ETA: I found another site that talks about who views your profile the most. It goes into more detail than Science 2.0 and even has a response from Facebook about the issue. The comments are interesting, too. I'm curious. What do you all think? Can you tell who you interact with the most and who is viewing your profile the most by your friends list on your profile?
4. Don't post upcoming vacation plans. I know most people are more trusting than I am because I often see people writing things like,
"Can't WAIT for our cruise next week. We are leaving on Friday and won't be back for a WHOLE WEEK!!! The front door key is under the mat."
OK, maybe people don't actually say the door key is under the mat, but people post their vacation plans all the time. You shouldn't do this. Really.
I honestly think I can trust everyone on my friends list, but there are over 200 people on it. Some, I haven't met in person. I'm not going to advertise an open house when we're out of town and you shouldn't either.
5. Set your privacy settings to the highest level. To do this, click on "Account" in the upper right corner. Then, choose "Privacy Settings". Pick "Custom" from the left menu. Once there, you can choose "Customize Settings" at the bottom of the page. Then, "Friends Only" in each of the drop down boxes that appears.
You can also set your privacy settings for photos and videos.
It's recommended that you check your settings every now and again because Facebook updates the site often. You'll want to make sure your privacy settings are current as things change. I checked mine just now.
Facebook is a fun and useful tool. However, you want it to work for you and not against you. Don't let it leave you vulnerable to viruses and other unwanted issues. Protect yourself and be a smart Facebooker!
Did I forget anything? What do you do to keep yourself protected on Facebook?