(Published in The College of Westchester’s Newsletter, May 2014) It is highly recommended here at CW that you open a separate Facebook account to keep in contact with students and other colleagues. This avoids the need to constantly keep monitoring your own content and to make sure your privacy settings are set up properly. However, even your personal account may be exposed to students, and certain content may compromise your work and credibility at CW. The main purpose is not to scare you or make you run away from social media and close all your accounts, but to keep you informed and alert.
Having said that, let’s clean up our Facebook profile: Your first step should be clicking on that little gear button tucked away in the corner of the page called “Settings.” Privacy settings are especially important to pay attention to on Facebook, as there are so many options as to who sees what. You should be monitoring your privacy settings and changing who can see your wall, photos, and likes. You should also be sure of who can tag you in photos and monitor who can find you in Facebook searches. Changing your privacy settings puts you in control of what your profile looks like to others.
Clean up your pictures is also very important. Some of us have been on Facebook for a very long time, so it’s time for you to venture back there and delete anything embarrassing, irrelevant, and especially, inappropriate. After you’ve combed through your photos, your profile should be free of any pictures with offensive language, inappropriate gestures or clothing, and anything else you wouldn’t want a student to see.
Last, but not least, it’s important to look over your likes. Go to your page and check out your likes – you’ll find the weirdest, most unnecessary pages. Take a minute to make sure you’ve only “liked” pages that are recent, relevant, and appropriate.