BluePhone Personal Tech Experts Offer Advice on Navigating Social Networks: Tips, Tricks & Traps

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There are social networks for just about anything these days. Wikipedia lists more than 130 different websites, from general sites like Facebook and MySpace, to job related social networks such as LinkedIn and assorted special-interest groups for cigar aficionados. With so many new sites out there to navigate, it's wise beforehand to have a bit of extra knowledge to maximize fun and avoid unnecessary tricks and traps.

Lately, it seems difficult to turn around without hearing about social networks, whether it's a friend talking about the hilarious video they saw on Facebook, the latest news surrounding a "vulnerability" concern, or something about "twittering" with the growing site Twitter. With so many new sites out there to navigate, it's wise beforehand to have a bit of extra knowledge to maximize fun and avoid unnecessary tricks and traps.

There are social networks for just about anything these days. Wikipedia lists more than 130 different websites, from general sites like Facebook and MySpace, to job related social networks such as LinkedIn and assorted special-interest groups for cigar aficionados.

So before uploading photos, posting comments, writing blog entries, or accidentally "friending" the universe, take a look at these suggestions from BluePhone online computer support experts who will ensure your social network experience is a fun experience:

Smart Security - Users can control "who sees them" and how much information is revealed by choosing from a number of criteria. It's easy to manage how much of a profile is visible to the public, and how easy someone's profile can be found. Search settings can limit people to searching only by email address, so that a profile cannot be found simply by knowing their name. These security settings are usually set conservatively by default, but it doesn't hurt to know exactly who can see what.

Friend control - It's best for someone to keep their friend lists to people they know well and to be careful of which circles of friends are allowed in. Most social networks have a tool to invite new friends from an email address book, and, while it's a quick way to add a good number of friends, it's also easy way to invite people who would otherwise remain uninvited. So always be conservative when inviting or accepting friends. They can always become a friend later.

Time patrol - No one with any semblance of a social life can reasonably keep up with every social network they're invited to join. It's easy to get caught up and lose track of time. An easy fix is to keep the number of social networks one is involved with to a lower, manageable number. If someone is prone to social networking marathon sessions, they might consider setting time limits, and if they really space out an alarm clock might help.

Audience awareness - It's important to consider who could read what is posted to a social networking profile, along with who could see photos that are uploaded and shared. It could be a boss, a coworker, a distant relative, or a friend of a friend, but probably a better tact is to assume that everyone will see what is posted online. Make sure to think of every possible person who could see a particular profile, and make sure it's okay if everyone sees it.

Linking Lessons - It's good to keep firm boundaries between work and play, especially if there's any question at all. LinkedIn is a valuable place to network for jobs, but be careful linking a professional profile like LinkedIn to a more social site like Facebook. At least consider what information and photos will be posted and shared before giving coworkers and bosses access to things that would otherwise be kept among friends.

Most importantly, don't get too tied up in social networking. If things get out of control with too many unidentifiable friends, close the account and start over. If all this seems unmanageable, certified experts such as BluePhone can help maximize anyone's online social networking experience, and help eliminate some of the associated pitfalls. To see first-hand, register for the BluePhone two-week free trial and enjoy full, unlimited access to BluePhone Personal Tech Experts.

About BluePhone
BluePhone is a leading online computer support company committed to helping members get the most out of their PC, Macs, software applications and connected devices. Using remote-desktop technology by Cisco WebEx™ to diagnose, repair, and optimize your computer, BluePhone resolves hundreds of computer problems every day. The company's success is measured by the quality of service and satisfaction provided to each member, earning BluePhone a best-in-industry 98% customer satisfaction rating. BluePhone Personal Tech Experts are certified solution engineers who diagnose and fix problems that plague computer users daily - security, configuration, desktop performance - and things like how to organize digital photos or making devices like MP3s deliver maximum enjoyment. BluePhone Personal Tech Experts are extensively trained and certified to resolve nearly any computer software problem, offer expert advice, and troubleshoot and fix hardware issues.

BluePhone membership includes unlimited assistance for all the computers in a household (up to 3 PCs or Macs) for $199.95 per year, or a monthly membership for $24.95, or one-time service calls for $89.00. BluePhone offers a money back guarantee. Members get assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by phone, email, chat or remote computer access.

For additional information, visit http://www.bluephone.com or call 877-442-BLUE (877-442-2583).

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Seth Geisler
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