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Sunday, May 30, 2010

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What Not to Put in Your Social Network Profile

Online social networks have rapidly increased in popularity, especially over the past couple of years.  Social networking websites are popular because they easily allow you to find, connect with, and develop friendships with other internet users, often ones that share the same interests as you. To find those individuals, you must join a social networking website and create a profile.  It is often advertised that your social networking profile is the key to making and finding friends online.

As previously mentioned, your social networking profile is important when it comes to meeting other internet users. This is because, in most cases, internet users are looking to chat with someone who has the same goals, views, beliefs, and interests as they do.  Without a personal profile, it would be difficult or impossible to tell what your interests are. That is why social networking profiles are not only important, but they are needed.

When it comes to social networking profiles, a lot of focus has been placed on what you should include in your profile or display on your profile page. It has been said that pictures produce the best responses, as well as detailed personal information.  Although a picture and detailed personal information may help to increase your page views, you may be getting views that you do not necessarily want.  Despite what you may believe, most social networking websites do not have restrictions on who can view your personal profile.  In fact, internet users, even those that do not belong to your online community, can easily see profile.

Since anyone, literally anyone, can see your social networking profile, on most social networking websites, you are advised to be cautious. Essentially, this means that instead of focusing on what you should put in your online profile, you should be focusing on what not to put.  This is one the best ways to protect your safety, both on and offline. 

As previously mentioned, pictures are often recommended with social networking websites. If you are interested in positing a personal picture of yourself in your online profile you can do so, but you are advised to carefully choose that picture.  While you will want to look your best, you are advised against posting a picture that is too revealing or seductive in nature.  Most internet users can look at these types of pictures without feeling a thing, but for others these types of pictures spell danger.

If you make the decision to post a picture of yourself in your social networking website profile, you need to be careful about the rest of the information that you post.  Although you may not necessarily think about it, a picture is just a picture, but combined with your name and address, it could be a deadly combination. You are advised to only post your first name in your profile. This will make it more difficult for anyone to try and contact you off of the internet. 

It is also advised that you carefully choose your location.  A large number of online social networking sites require that you select a city, as well as a state. If it is allowed, you may only wish to list your state and not the city.  If you are required to list the city and the state that you live in, you may want to think about using a nearby city or town, especially if you live in a small town. If an internet predator wanted to contact you and you lived in a small town, it could be fairly easy for them to find you. That is why it is advised that you carefully select the answer to the location question.

In addition to the above precautionary measures, it is advised that you do not post detailed information on your children, the location of your home, your income, or when you will be leaving for vacation.  By keeping these and the above mentioned points in mind, you should be able to enjoy online social networking without having to always look behind your back.
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