Prepare Yourself for Web Notoriety

You may or may not have taken to heart the many articles about checking your privacy settings on Facebook and presuming that anything you post on the Web may be seen by anyone. Unless you are being stalked by an ex-lover or rabid fan you may have assumed “This doesn’t effect me, because why would a stranger care about my Facebook page?”

What many people don’t realize is: when you do something that makes people more interested in you, and specifically if you are soliciting money from them, the smart potential donors/customers are going to Google you to research whether you are legitimate. Do you know what they will find?

As I’ve mentioned, I back a lot of Kickstarter projects (over 50 so far). While some of those are presented by people I already know and trust, many more are presented by strangers to me personally, and frequently not even known to a more general audience (i.e., not performers/businesses known in some other location).

This is a frequent question asked by potential Kickstarter backers: How do I know a project creator is who they say they are? Kickstarter’s answer is [in summary]: look at their links and use your internet skillz to find out if they are who they claim. Since they also say that Kickstarter is NOT responsible for enforcing any agreements I research every project creator to whom I’m planning to pledge more than $25.

Thus when a recent project of interest seriously exceeded their target (nearly $70,000 in pledges on a $10,000 project to deliver specific items to be manufactured in Central America under the creators’ supervision) backers started to question whether the creators were A) legitimate, and B) prepared to handle the logistics of many more orders than originally planned.

As part of this conversation I posted publicly available Google findings on one of the creators: information from his public LinkedIn resume, and a comment from his publicly viewable Facebook page that he’d be gone to [Central American country] for some months starting the day after the project closed. I gave my opinion that while this couldn’t predict his ability to handle the logistics, it did give some evidence that he planned to do what he said.

Several days after the project closed I was surprised to receive a Facebook message from said project creator: he was highly offended that I had “violated [his] privacy” by posting his publicly viewable information to the other backers! I replied that I was following Kickstarter recommendations, and that if he did not want that information to be viewable by strangers (I was not his FB friend, nor connected with him on LinkedIn) he should modify his FB privacy settings.

For the rest of you, here are a few Facebook privacy tips:

– On your Timeline page to the right of the “Update Info” and “Activity Log” buttons click on the asterisk symbol and select “view as“. This will show you how your Timeline looks to someone who is not your FB friend. If there are posts you didn’t realize were public and want to hide or make friends only, make a note of their dates (because you cannot edit in this view), then click “back to Timeline” at the top to revert to your usual page where you can edit them.

– Be aware that when you post or reply to something on a friend’s Timeline the post’s privacy setting is controlled by the friend’s settings, not yours. So your snarky joke comment may be visible to the world even if you keep your own settings to friends only.

Anything you post on a Page (e.g., for a band, a local business, etc.) is publicly visible.

So before you open that Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to create rhinestone-studded ukeleles for a $200 pledge, check your publicly visible social media presence and remove the embarrassing discussion of your glue-gun injury…

One thought on “Prepare Yourself for Web Notoriety

  1. Betty – You address a very important point. And in addition to illustrating this issue, you share the how-to’s of protecting certain personal information. Thank you for not only pointing out the issue, but also offering ideas and solutions!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *