Recommended practices for personal web spaces and blogging


Be as anonymous as possible

Avoid postings that could enable a stranger to locate you. That includes your last name, the name of your school, sports teams, the town you live in, and where you hang out. Never, under any circumstances, post your phone number or address (including email addresses that display your full name). "Real" friends already have that information and won't need to obtain it from your blog.

Protect your information

Check to see if your service has a "friends" list that allows you to control who can visit your profile or blog. If so, allow only people you know and trust. If you don't use privacy features, anyone can see your info, including people with ill intentions. (This could include friends or other people on your list with a grudge.)

Carefully monitor your contact list

Be aware of who can view your personal information. The Internet allows for easy access and searching. Read about privacy and security features and utilize them.

Scrutinize third party information sharing

Some blog services may give your personal information (including your IP address) to other advertising companies in order to pay for the free service you are receiving. You should investigate the privacy policies of any service you use to ensure you are not being placed on undesirable lists or that your personal information is being unknowingly shared.

Avoid in-person meetings

Don't get together with someone you "meet" in a profile or blog, unless you are certain of their actual identity. Although it's still not risk-free, if you do meet the person, arrange the meeting in a public place and bring some friends along.

Be aware: potential employers search

Internet career site estimates that five percent of employers currently research applicants on popular social media websites. However, recent media coverage suggests that more employers will be searching these sites as part of candidate selection process. Employers have reported rejecting otherwise qualified applicants because of material they found online.

Think before posting photos

What's uploaded to the Internet is public and can be downloaded by anyone and passed around or posted online. Avoid posting photos that allow people to identify you (street signs, license plates, school logo clothing, etc.), especially images that are sexually suggestive or display illegal activity (for example, drinking under age, drug use, etc.). Before uploading a photo, think about how you'd feel if it were seen by a parent/grandparent, college admissions counselor, or future employer. Once it's on the web, it is fair game.