Internet Tips: Safeguard Your Reputation While Socially Networking

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Go Incognito

Even a stellar online image deserves privacy, and fortunately MySpace and most other social-networking sites give you quite a bit of control over who can and can't see and find your posts. To hide your MySpace page from anyone who's not already a MySpace friend, click Account Settings on your main page, and choose Change Settings next to 'Privacy Settings.' Check Require email or last name to add me as a friend under My Privacy Settings to prevent people who don't know you from trying to add you as a friend, and select My Friends Only under 'Who Can View My Full Profile.' Click the Change Settings button to enable the changes (see Figure 2

Figure 2: Keep MySpace strangers at bay by restricting potential contacts to your friends and your real-world acquaintances.

Visitors to your MySpace page will see only your photo, display name, and location. Replace these with versions that do not reveal your identity, and you'll be nearly anonymous except to people you approve as MySpace friends (see Figure 3

Figure 3: Go incognito online by substituting fictitious data for all potentially identifying real-world information about yourself on your MySpace profile.

To prevent others from knowing you even have a MySpace account, make sure that your real name doesn't appear in the First Name and Last Name search fields under your profile's Name section, nor in your MySpace User Name/URL (such as ''). You can't alter a User Name/URL once you've created it, so your only option in that situation is to cancel the account (an option included under Account Settings) and then create a new one.

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