Everybody has a "friend" on social media that clogs up the newsfeed with excessive posts and pics that are more nuisance than news. This "friend" may share too many items, too often. Let's face it, in some cases, that "friend" could be you.
Security and privacy experts recommend reviewing your social network settings regularly because each social network has its own rules and methods about sharing and they change on occasion.
If you haven't checked lately to see who is looking at your party pics or philosophical posts, it would be a good idea to review the following tips to minimize providing too much information to employers, potential identity thieves or online stalkers.
Facebook's archives are more accessible with the latest feature, Graph Search. Graph Search lets users search for photos, people and recommendations. While you can't block strangers from finding you with Graph Search, it is easier to restrict who sees your individual posts.
To minimize sharing, remember that you can control with whom you share your secrets. You can edit and group your "friends" (i.e., friends, work, family, etc.). When you post, you can select with which groups you would like to share, rather than making a "public" post.
"Privacy Shortcuts" -- the padlock icon located in the top right corner of the Facebook window -- let you decide "Who can view my information?" according to the settings you chose.
In the "Settings" page, you can view your accessibility with the "Privacy" and "Timeline and Tagging" features. By reviewing these, you can filter others' posts or pictures that tag you by name before they're included on your timeline.
While still in "Settings," check out your choices for ads, apps and notifications. In this section, you can choose if you want to be targeted for personalized ads, to share your app and game results with Facebook friends, or to receive notifications.
Google+ differs from Facebook in its approach to friends. The "circle" feature is the principal feature, asking you to assign your friends, family, and acquaintances to corresponding "circles." When you post, you can select which circles will see your comment or pic.
Like Facebook, Google+ includes options to exclude personalized ads. You can eliminate these through the "settings" page by choosing "Off" on the "Shared Endorsements" item.
Twitter, on the other hand, aims to share your Tweets with as many people as possible. Favorites and retweets are esteemed in the Twitter world. However, if you want to tweet privately, there are limits you can set.
You can make your tweets exclusive to your followers, which you have to previously accept. You can also decide whether or not to include your location on your tweets. Twitter allows you to block any unwanted followers.
Reviewing your social network privacy settings on a regular basis will help protect your online reputation and identity. More importantly, parents should review their teen's settings to protect their child from college admissions boards, future employers, identity thieves, online stalkers or cyberbullies.
Facebook/social network monitoring software will allow parents to keep tabs on a teen's friends, pictures and posts on social networks. This helps alleviate the challenge of trying to keep up with a teen on the various social networks they use and will send parents alerts when behavior is inappropriate.
Note: This article and the opinions expressed here are from Russ Warner, Internet safety expert and CEO of ContentWatch, makers of parental control software Net Nanny.
Follow Russ Warner on Google+.