7 August 2009 - 9:29pmFacebook Settings

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Following is a (only slightly edited) note that I just sent to my sister on Facebook.  The settings available on Facebook are a mystery to many users, so I tried to give her a quick overview of what’s there along with some recommendations.  My sister isn’t super computer-savvy, so I figured she might like some help.  If you know someone like her who could use some Facebook help, feel free to pass them this same note.

Hey Jess, you’re on Facebook!

(This turned out to be really long, if you read through it, you might want to print it out so you can follow along with it while you read and get all your settings straightened out. you can print it by highlighting the text, right clicking and choosing copy and then opening word and right clicking and choosing paste, then print)

I was just looking at your page and saw that you have a lot of leftover stuff on your “boxes” tab from when you used to use Facebook. I thought you might want to get rid of a bunch of it, since it’s the reason you stopped using Facebook before.

Hover over Settings at the top of your page and choose “Application Settings”. From there, use the drop down menu to show different categories of applications (“recently used”, etc.). You have three options:

  1. if the application is something you don’t want to have at all, just click the “x” to the right of its name.
  2. If you want it, but don’t want it to show up on your page, click “edit settings”… a popup box comes up and you can click “remove” next to “Box” to get rid of it from your “boxes” tab.
  3. If you want it and want it to show, you may want to edit the “privacy” settings on the edit settings box. Making it so that only your friends can see your stuff is probably a good idea.

Also, you might want to look through the overall privacy settings for your account. Go to “Settings” at the top of the page and this time choose “Privacy Settings”. There are 4 categories here, they’re all important.

  1. Go to Profile and you’ll see that you can control who can see each of the things on your page. It might be a good idea to limit most things to just your friends plus perhaps your college network (certainly don’t let everyone in the world or the whole binghamton network see all your stuff). Also go to the “Contact Information” tab on this page and make sure you aren’t showing everyone in the world your screenname and email address. Make sure you click save changes on each page.
  2. Now go to the “Search” category. I’d recommend setting the dropdown to “My networks and friends” and then checking which boxes you think people that searched for you should see. Save your changes and then
  3. go to the “News Feed and Wall” category. Here you can set what types of things you do will show up in other people’s news feeds. Uncheck anything you don’t want to be broadcasted on everyone’s News Feed. Save your changes and then
  4. go to the “Applications” category. Click the “Settings” tab and you’ll see that here you can specify what parts of your information you’d like Facebook to make available to other applications (applications are all the annoying things that put boxes on your page). Uncheck stuff you don’t think you want an application to be able to use (you may want to uncheck things like pictures at least). Be sure to save your changes.

Now, if you go to Settings again and click on Account Settings, you can go to the Networks tab. Here, you should be able to join your college’s network so you can start meeting some people from your school. You’ll definitely want to be part of that network when you get to school. I think you just need your college email address. You can also go to the Notifications tab (after you saved your changes) and choose when you want Facebook to send you emails about crap. I have almost everything unchecked because I hate 12341209725 Facebook emails all the time.

Just trying to get you started on the right foot with this online stuff. I want you to be safe and not be exposing too much information about yourself to the wrong people. Also, always be careful what you post online. Chances are, someone can see it that you didn’t think about.

Hopefully it helps her at least a little bit.  I also offered to log in to her account and go through some settings for her, but I encouraged her to try it herself so that she can learn what types of things she has control over.

1 Comment | Categories: COSI, General

Comments:

  1. I’m not sure if it’s applicable to your sister, but one other thing I’ve found helpful is following the Facebook Blog (http://blog.facebook.com/). In addition to what I consider a bunch of less useful posts (e.g. an interview with Ray Kurzweil), they mention new or improved features, debunk/confirm rumors, and discuss privacy issues.

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