Silke Schippmann

Silke Schippmann on 16.10.2009 at 16:01h CET

Anyone who uses the Internet should make sure to protect their privacy and be very careful about giving away personal information. After all, anything you find in the offline world, you’ll find in some form in the online world too, and unfortunately positive experiences and people with good intentions aren’t the only things you’ll come across. That’s why it’s important to stay alert and use common sense when using social networks. It’s possible for dubious offers to show up on XING, too. If you come across any, please report the member and the message to us. Although the site provides you with a certain level of protection, there are also things you can do as a user to protect yourself and your privacy.

First of all, it’s important for every user to think about what type of information they want people to be able to search for to find them. What private information are you willing to make public? And what information do you consider to be too private to reveal to the general public? When you know where your boundaries are, it is very easy to control your profile and the way you use the Internet.

You can release your contact information to other members on an individual basis. I have found it useful to adjust my settings so that my “business” contact information is released unless I specify otherwise. Then whenever I get a new contact, I can decide if I want to release more information to them, such as my private telephone number. You can change this setting whenever you confirm a new contact.

It is also a good idea to look at your profile without (!) being logged onto the site. Then you can see exactly what other Internet users are able to find out about you. (Obviously, you can only do this if you have adjusted your settings to allow search engines to find your profile.)

You can go here to change your profile settings: I also think it’s especially important to allow non-contacts to send you messages. Otherwise people have no way of communicating with you. You could end up sending messages to people who are not even able to respond.

I have also noticed that more and more members are putting their contact information directly under their names. But that isn’t something I would recommend. That makes the information available to anyone and everyone and you might end up getting a lot more calls and email than you actually wanted.

Never give your login information to third parties and make sure to choose a secure password. And no, your child’s name and the city you live in are not secure passwords. Porsche, sunshine and password are other bad choices. It is also advisable to change your password from time to time.

With respect to the visibility of your groups and group entries, the setting you personally select always takes precedence over the setting for the group in general. I enjoy writing in groups and I always allow others to quote what I write. I think about what I write and I am careful not to let myself get involved in arguments that could have a negative effect on my image later on.

I am often asked: What can I write and what can’t I write? The bad news is: No one is going to be able to give you a clear cut answer on that. The good news is: All you really have to do to avoid problems is use some common sense.   This basically boils down to not writing anything in a public area that could be damaging to someone else.

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