Save yourself from (potentially a whole lot of) trouble and streamline your online activity by following the three essential steps below. You really can't afford not to.
1. Change your passwords
Hate changing your passwords for your social media, online banking, Amazon.com. and many more online accounts? So do I - but having someone invade your privacy, social channels, or even financials could be even more annoying and time consuming - possibly even devastating.
Change your passwords today and then about every three months to lower the chance of getting hacked:
- Don't use the same password or similar password that you slightly modify for each account.
- Make each password unique, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters - at least 6 characters, ideally 9.
- Don't use any real words, your pet's name or anything people could Google about you.
One solution to make changing passwords less of a pain is a password storage tool. My husband just got me a license for 1Password.
All I have to remember now is a single password. You can feed 1Password every time you go to a site that requires you to log in and store the details directly through the 1Password browser extension. Say you are going right now to change your Facebook password, when you are done doing that, 1Password can automatically record and encrypt the details for you.
From now on, changing your password once a month is a piece of cake. And the password generator enables you to create super-secure passwords that are extra hard to crack. Of course, your one password has to be very complex.
You'll have to invest $99.99 for a family license or $69.99 for an individual one, but I think it's worth it as cyber security is one of the main challenges of our time. Of course, there are other products than 1Password to do the same job.
2. Check and update your social channel settings
Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels periodically change their privacy options or add options without making users explicitly aware of it. For a good and safe start into 2013, visit at least your key channels - in my case Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn - and check your privacy and notification settings.
While you are there, it might make sense to tweak your profile information, in case you can add a new accomplishment, job, or other new detail.
Things that stood out to me when I did my 2013 maintenance:
2.1 Facebook (for personal use, not business pages)
- Under: "Who can see my stuff ?" Make sure you have "Who can see your future posts" set to "friends" (or friends minus acquaintances) instead of "public".
- I also have "Who sees tag suggestions when photos that look like you are uploaded?" set to "No One". (It's the face recognition software part that is illegal in Europe).
- Look at all the apps you have enabled and disable any that you don't use. Apps on Facebook often share information not just about you but also your unsuspecting friends, e.g. the networking tool BranchOut. Also, avoid the birthday app - you don't want your birthday available on social media anywhere; protect your identity.
- Make sure in "Facebook Ads", you have all sharing options set to "No One". Or FB reserves the right to possibly share your stuff in the future.
- Like for Facebook, check and revoke access for apps (that have access to your Twitter account) that you are not using (under "Settings").
- If you haven't added a "Header" picture under your "Profile" yet, it's time. If you don't have access to fancy Photoshop tools, just make sure that your "photo" displays nicely on top of the background "header" picture you choose.
- LinkedIn now lets you add links to videos, presentations and other assets to many sections in your profile. I am experimenting and added a Slideshare deck.
- I turned off "Partner InMails" under "Account"/"Email Preferences". And under "Advertising Preferences", I unchecked "LinkedIn may show me ads on third-party websites".
- If you don't have your Twitter account connected yet, I recommend it, as it allows you to simultaneously tweet LinkedIn status updates with one click.
Twitter writes on their blog: "Go to Settings and scroll down to the bottom to check for the option to request your Twitter archive. If you do see it, go ahead and click the button. You'll receive an email with instructions on how to access your archive when it's ready for you to download.
If you don't see that option in Settings today, know that it's on the way! We're rolling out this feature slowly, starting today with a small percentage of users whose language is set to English. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll make it available to all users around the world, for all the languages we offer." Having all your Tweets in an archive will be useful if you have to look up old Tweets or get involved into any kind of legal action (my prediction for 2013, it's going to get uglier).
And in case you missed the news: G+ Biz Pages can now share with all G+ users. New analytics for G+ are coming up too and Google Communities could turn out to be a serious threat to Facebook! Watch Google+/Communities as the B2B social media space in 2013!
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