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I didn’t invent this, it comes from a graduate instructor I took classes from that I’m embarrassed I don’t remember his name.

Paranoia — is when you think ‘they’ are out to get you but it’s all your imagination.

Rapanoia — is when they really are out to get you and you don’t know it.

There has been a lot of press lately about privacy on both Facebook and Yahoo and I found some reasonably decent (and recent) sources that will tell you about some of the new privacy settings on both of those systems.

Even if you’re a casual user like I am, you should set up at least some of the basic privacy settings. This is mostly to protect yourself from things that may happen in the future. Folk you are ‘friends’ with now may no longer be friends in the future and, more importantly, you have no idea who their friends are.

I don’t do anything serious on my Facebook account (well, I did post an awesome Word Drop score the other night!) but there’s nothing that the entire world couldn’t see. I do that overtly. If you’re a Facebook ‘friend’, you won’t see me post a lot of things and what I do post is pretty benign.

I have multiple Yahoo email accounts for pretty much exactly this reason. I have a ‘public’ Yahoo email that I use with friends and family. I have a second Yahoo account that I use when I’m filling out forms on the Internet; this is mostly a throw-away account that I can walk away from at any time if it gets too full of spam. I have a third Yahoo email account that I use for truly personal activities; I share that with only a few people.

As a result, I’m going to tie down some of the privacy things on that third Yahoo account; I don’t want people to find me, I don’t want you-all to be contacting me there. The first two are pretty open and I don’t do anything there that I couldn’t tell my mom about.

The “mom rule’ is kind of a personal rule of thumb. What sorts of things could you tell your mother that she wouldn’t be offended / annoyed / embarrassed about? Everyone’s mom is different, so your guidelines will be different.

So. The links.

Facebook privacy: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/05/more-privacy-facebook-new-privacy-controls

Yahoo privacy: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/06/opt-out-required-prevent-your-yahoo-mail-contacts

EFF is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They’re on the conservative side, which is good in this case, and very active in the digital community making sure your rights are protected. I may do another piece on them later in the summer. It’s a good topic.

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