A Guide to Looking Your Best on the Social Net: Part 1
We're the makeover generation. Who doesn't enjoy the idea of taking something that is substandard, be it our appearance, house or career, add expert advice and then the big reveal—a whole new you.
In looking at our search term data in just the last week, there were more than 1,300 different makeover terms that were entered in search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. We've made a game of makeovers—we're open to a virtual makeover, we're not willing to invest much time—so "six week makeover to a new body" appears to be a popular term.
Top 10 Searches Containing "Makeover" (Week Ending 1/30/10)
1. Makeover games
2. Extreme makeover home edition
3. Bratz makeover game
4. Virtual makeover
5. Room makeover
6. 6 week body makeover
7. Virtual hair makeover
8. Susan Boyle makeover
9. Online makeover
10. Barbie makeover games Source: Experian Hitwise
There's one type of makeover that is conspicuously missing from the 1,300 terms. According to our latest data, one of the most visited websites in the United States, accounting for more than 6 percent of all our online visits each day, is Facebook.
As we post our stream of consciousness on our status updates and our friends' walls, photos of ourselves in mundane and compromising positions, sometimes we don't consider how our social network presence has become the most visible and discoverable part of our online life.
Our social network profile, whether we like it or not, has become our résumé, our dating profile, our personal mission statement and ultimately a digital reflection of ourselves.
With the same care we give to our physical appearance, I think it's time that we talk makeover.
This is the first article in a series where we'll take a look at our social network profile and begin our journey to a whole new digital you. But first I have some homework for you.
Take stock of your social presence. How many friends do you have? Do you have work colleagues, family, close friends, distant acquaintances or all the above in your friends list? I'm going to assume that in-person you tend to share different degrees of personal information depending on the relationship you have with the individual that you're speaking with? Do you practice that same discretion when posting photos and status updates?
Barry Schnitt, director of policy communications at Facebook, has some tips to get you started in separating business from pleasure:
• Make a limited set of information that helps people find and connect with you available to everyone—information like "About Me" and where you work or go to school.
• For more sensitive information, like photos and videos in which you've been tagged and your phone number, we recommend a more restrictive setting.
• As always, you can block specific users, which prevents them from seeing any of your information or contacting you on Facebook. No matter what section you choose, you'll see an identical setting selector with three basic levels of privacy: Friends, Friends of Friends and Everyone.
Once you've taken the basic steps above, you can develop specific friends lists. I suggest you divide your existing contacts into friends, family and work-related as a start, and then use privacy settings to limit what each group can see. In the weeks to come, we'll talk about status updates, applications and turning social networking into a tool to help you accomplish your goals. For now, if you've taken the first step to set your privacy settings, well done. Have a virtual beer on me.