By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

Last time, I talked about posting information and communicating online.  In this last installment, I would like to share some pointers specifically for social networking.


A) Identity thieves only need a person’s full name, birth date and address to get their start.

B) Women: you may not want to use your maiden name online.  If it is used, instruct your children to use another name or word for security password purposes.

C) Photos: Many digital photos have easily accessible properties embedded in them.  This includes the date, time, and place the picture was taken, with GPS coordinates and sometimes mapping.  (Yes, I researched this.)  Almost all smart phones have this capability, and some digital point-and-shoot cameras also have geotagging (many from the 2008 time period before smartphones came out.  Also, digital cameras that don’t come with this feature can have it added on by the consumer.  When this info is embedded in a photo online, anyone who can see it can easily access the location information.  Be aware of this if you or someone else ever posts pictures of you, your pets, or your kids at your home, school or work!

D) Everything you do on Facebook is stored indefinitely, forever (or for as long as they possibly can – which I have heard that, so far, is everything).  When you delete a message, photo or account, the information is gone (for the most part) within 90 days, but any message you posted to a group or sent to a friend will remain indefinitely (unless your friend deletes the message).

E) Facebook uses modern facial recognition software.  (Sometimes with hilarious results!)

F) When chatting, commenting and communicating online, DO NOT USE ALL CAPS LIKE I AM HERE!  Avoid sarcasm, as well as playfully making fun of people, to avoid confusion.  Keep it short and to-the-point.

G) Do not post things that you would not want your grandmother or a future potential employer to see.  You may think you are anonymous, or that only a few select people will see it, but that thin curtain is removable.  Remember this with your comments, pictures in your albums and pictures that have you tagged.

F) Don’t hesitate to unfriend negative people.  You can tell them I made you do it!

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