Guide: Controlling your online identity

By Matt Cornock

This Prezi presentation formed part of my workshop on Controlling Your Online Identity. It complements my Guide on Facebook Privacy. If the presentation does not appear below, view on There is a little scaremongering in this guide! Deliberately, I might add, to provoke your thoughts and the overall privacy debate.

You create an online persona in the same way that you would in face-to-face environments. This Prezi highlights some key considerations, in particular looking at social networks. Includes screenshots pointing out the inbuilt privacy settings on social networking sites.

The crux of the matter is that anything you post online should be considered ‘public’ in some way. Whether that is ‘public’ in the very literal sense of being available to the whole world, or simply shared on the data servers of a social networking site. One of the biggest misconceptions is that privacy settings are 100% guaranteed to prevent those who you don’t want to look at your stuff from viewing that stuff. That’s not entirely true. Whilst privacy settings can stop someone, it’s wholly dependent on the system knowing who that person is to restrict access. There is also a level of trust you must have with the people you share content with. This is why ‘friending’ strangers on social networks is a bad idea. An even worse idea is making posts available to ‘friends of friends’ – you might as well just make it ‘public’.

A little reality check

  • Go to your Facebook page.
  • Find a status update you’d rather not be distributed around the world for all to see.
  • Press ‘Print Screen’ (or PrntScr) on your keyboard, usually near Scroll Lock, possibly near Insert/Delete.
  • Open up a programme like Word which allows you to Paste in images.
  • Click ‘Paste’ in the toolbar (or press Ctrl + V).

Anything that appears on someone’s screen can be copied and distributed as an image.

Putting the pieces together

Finally, two very thought provoking short, fast-paced videos by Tom Scott:

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