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This content is taken from the University of Leeds & Institute of Coding's online course, Create a Professional Online Presence. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsSanne Vliegenthart: You may think that you have your privacy settings fine-tuned and running smoothly. But it's always worth keeping on top of them and checking occasionally. Why? Two reasons. First, because technology changes fast and social media platforms are always introducing new features, which you might need to opt in or out of. And it's good to keep on top of new developments as they might improve your experience of a social media platform. But, secondly, for various reasons, social media platforms don't generally want you to keep your content behind closed doors. Their business often relies on content being findable and sharable by your friends, and contacts, and advertisers, and beyond.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsSo it's worth checking in occasionally to see if anything's changed and if your account is more visible than you realise. Facebook lets you set the privacy of a photo that you post onto your account, for example, to friends only. But if someone else posts a picture of the same night out and tagged you in it, that photo is then seen by all their friends and all your friends. It could also be featured in the Photos of You Gallery on your profile, which is visible to anyone, even if they're not connected to you. You can control whether tagged images are visible or not. But the option is buried in privacy settings. And it's easy to miss.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsHere's five things you can do regularly, which shouldn't take you more than a few minutes. Find your privacy settings. These are usually in an area called Settings or My Account and it may have an icon like this on the button. Check the default privacy settings for your account. For some platforms, this might be universal. In other words, you can only be public or locked down. But on other sites, you can choose for things to be visible only to a particular group of people. Check what the default is and remember it every time you post something new. Make good decisions. Use the default privacy settings to make good decisions.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 secondsWhenever you're posting something new, think "wait, do I really want this to be seen by this group of people?", which might include everyone in the world if your settings are public. If you don't, you can change the privacy settings for that particular piece of content. Facebook lets you do this, as well as Instagram Stories to some degree, while other social media platforms do not allow that level of granular control. Alternatively, change where you post that content, to a private account, for example, instead of a public one. Use lists smartly. Some social media platforms offer the option to create lists of people, like family members, old friends from school, or people you met once at a party.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 secondsAnd then use those lists to share content just to them or exclude them from content. It's a nifty way of remembering that you don't need to share everything with everyone all the time. Be selective. Go and find your privacy settings again, and check them again. Repeat these checks often to make sure your privacy settings are how you want them.

Managing your settings

In the previous steps, you looked at some tips for managing your professional presence – you were challenged to think about what you might cull, create or curate.

Connected to this is the important role of understanding and managing your privacy settings – taking control over what you share and with whom.

In this video, presenter Sanne Vliegenthart takes us through the importance of privacy settings in social media and offers up some tips about how to manage them effectively.

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This video is from the free online course:

Create a Professional Online Presence

University of Leeds