Wax On… Log Off… Wax On… Log Off…

12 11 2010

I stumbled on this story over at CNN.com about Facebook users who use the “super logoff” option, rather than just logging off when they are done with their sessions. What does “super logoff” mean? It means they deactivate their accounts each time they log out, and reactivate when they log back in. It takes a few extra steps, but deactivating your account still keeps your friends, posts, and information. You won’t lose a single thing. Why are people doing this? According to the story, it’s an added sense of security when using the super-popular social network. One example they used was citing how users might not want a friend of a friend digging around for their profile while they’re not ‘around’, or logged in… and this is where the idea of  the “Super Logoff” started to lose its purpose.

I get it. Everyone wants to feel more secure online. But if you’re going to share personal and/or private information online, you need to realize something. The internet is not and has never been 100% safe. Why? Users. If you don’t take advantage of a website’s security options and decide to take a few extra steps to ‘secure’ yourself, you may be putting yourself in jeopardy. Don’t want “friends of friends” snooping around your profile? Facebook has an option to limit your profile information to “friends only”. Don’t want to be seen online? Facebook has an option to turn the chat feature off. Don’t want certain people to see your posts in their news feeds? Facebook has an option to block specific people from every aspect of your “Facebook Life”.

Before you get freaked out by someone’s status that reads, “FACEBOOK IS NOT PRIVATE! EVERYONE CAN SEE YOUR PROFILE! PASS THIS ALONG SO MORE PEOPLE CAN SEE HOW BAD FACEBOOK IS!”, take some time to get to know your privacy settings. This applies not only to Facebook, but to any online community you are a member of. Instead of using the Super Logoff method, try using the Super Privacy method. Don’t publish any information you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with the entire world (because everything is hackable), and get to know your community’s privacy settings.

Your social networking experience can be a safe and stress-free experience with a simplified security strategy, without adding unnecessary steps. If you’re still feeling uneasy about taking the ‘simple’ approach, take a little advice from Mr. Miyagi.

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