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5 Things Not to Do When Using Facebook

If you haven’t heard of Facebook you must have been living in a hobbit sized cave for the best part of a decade. More on five things not to do when using Facebook and how update your privacy settings.

The social networking site has taken the world by storm and is transforming everything we do from the way we meet people to where we go out; how we entertain ourselves to what we buy.

The figures for the website are quite astounding. There are more than 500 million active users and people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. More than 30 billion pieces of content – be it web links, news stories, blog posts, notes or photo albums are shared each month, too. But as with all new pieces of technology – most of us are still learning how to use the website properly.

As with socializing face-to-face, it’s all too easy to make a mistake and ‘say’ or ‘do’ something wrong using Facebook that will come back to haunt you. The truth is Facebook can cause as much hassle as it can fun. Staying in contact and being connected all sounds like a great idea at first but do you really want your parents or even grandparents seeing those photos of a drunken night out? Or your boss being able to check up on what you do out of hours? Listed below are five things you should avoid doing on the social networking site. But don’t worry – if you are doing them, we show you how to fix them, too.

1. Accepting Friend Requests from Strangers

Big no no. By accepting people you don’t know you are effectively letting a stranger into your life; letting them know your thoughts, hobbies, whereabouts, and other things you keep on there. Even if you do know them and vaguely recognise them from that 2 week holiday you went on 3 years ago, do you really know them? Look at your friend list- how many of them do you know/ would speak to? The truth is it’s probably only a handful or so of them. Be sensible and have a friend cull every few months.

2. Broadcast Your Relationship Status (When You Don’t Want to)

There is a lot of drama surrounding the whole ‘relationship status’ thing on Facebook. For some it’s harmless, letting the world know they’re single or in a relationship, but for others it can be more sinister. Earlier this year The Telegraph newspaper reported that Facebook is being increasingly cited in divorce cases. Partners are being urged to even stay off the social networking site during Divorce procedures.

The paper mentions that one online law firm claims that one in five divorce petitions in the last year contained Facebook references within them. Facebook can cause a rift in relationships. Writing on someone’s wall is very public and even private messaging someone especially if you’re having an affair or being flirtatious can easily be found out: especially if you forget to log out of Facebook when your done and you share a computer!

An important thing to remember when changing your relationship status on Facebook is that the new information is posted on the newsfeed of all of your friends for everyone to see. So make sure you really are single before updating that status update for everyone to see!

3. Letting Everyone View Your Photos

We’ve all been there; you’ve had one too many drinks and incriminating if not shockingly hideous, ‘I -didn’t-realise-my-face-could –actually-look-like-that’ photographs have been taken. Now with a great night out comes great remorse as one of your friends tags you in every single photograph and your family and work colleagues get to see exactly what you’ve been up to. To avoid this happening to you, just go into your account settings in the top right of your Facebook page. Go to ‘account’ then ‘privacy settings’ and make sure only friends can view your photographs. If your family are your friends then go to ‘custom settings/ photos and videos I’m tagged in’ and then edit the settings there. You can even create a custom setting that lets you select exactly who can view your photos and videos, too.

4. Boost your friend count with random people

Adding anyone and everyone is just not cool. When it comes to social network etiquette, no one likes to see someone with a thousand friends or followers. It means you’re not very loyal to the ones you do have if they are real and there’s a lack of trust.

5. Make ‘Stupid’ Status Updates

There is undoubtedly someone on every person’s friend list who always provides you and the world with the most irritating and pointless updates about their day-today life. “Jo went to the loo” “Jo is going to take a bath,” “Jo just watched TV.” Does anyone need to know this sort of banal drivel? If anyone truly ever wanted to know what was going on in your life we’d ask. Then there’s self loathing Sally: “Oh I hate my life”, “No one will understand me”, “Why are some people so angry towards me? ” Do you really want your rants depressing everyone?

The occasional post like this is fine if you are having a tough day and are usually chipper, but too many and you could find your Facebook friends dwindling and your real friends telling you to cheer the hell up. And then there’s come location updates.

Thanks to some annoying app we now all too often get a location update from someone… ‘Dave just checked into the White Horse pub with Bob,’ ‘Dave is at work…’ ‘Dave is at home’ etc. We get the message. We go out too, we just don’t need to tell everyone where we are all the time. Although, that said, one of the benefits of the location based app is that you know where to avoid!

Tips on Facebook Privacy Settings

As much as we like to broadcast ourselves on Facebook you don’t want everybody and anybody knowing everything about you. Internet fraud is a big deal and information such as your address, phone number and date birth make it easier for fraudsters. Location updates are also a virtual “please break into my house” sign to would-be burglars, which again is why it’s important to only have people you know and trust as freind’s on Facebook. Check your privacy settings to minimise the risks.

Go to ‘Privacy Settings’ then go to ‘View Settings’, here you can select what information about you is available to who. You can set your Privacy Settings to ‘Friends Only’ or ‘Friends of Friends’ or ‘Everyone’. You can customise this so that, for example, your photos can only be viewed by friends but your education and work and be viewed by everyone. If you have got your birthday up there in full go to the edit information part and choose to only show the month and day or no birthday at all.