I’ve had several people lately tell me that they don’t do much with their Facebook profile but that they’ve set it up just to see what people are up to. It’s what you would call ‘lurking’ and it’s fine when you imagine it to be family, friends and close colleagues but it’s a bit creepy when you think about the potential ripple effect.
It’s a well-known fact that there are people out there who use social media for nefarious purposes, like stalking you online (a friend of mine was just freaked out by a guy she had ‘met’ online only a week ago who was proposing marriage and sending rather shocking pictures of himself).
I’ve always been a proponent of not putting anything ‘out there’ on any social media you may be using whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest (which I haven’t truly tried yet but it’s on the To Do list), that you wouldn’t want to wind up in the news headlines tomorrow.
This goes double if you’re using social media for professional purposes (by the way, potential employers are lurking too). Even if you clearly divide your personal and professional interactions (which I strongly recommend) you may still have ‘lurkers’ you don’t even realize are popping by to have a look.
It pays to set your privacy settings to ‘friends only’ (and drill a little deeper down and sub-divide your 'friends' categorically) and check back frequently to make sure the settings haven’t changed. We’re in a world where if you don’t change you get left behind. People complain bitterly when their favorite social network introduces yet another update but it’s really only an attempt to stay ahead of the curve. So, you might as well embrace the changes but always watch your back because… you never know who’s watching you.