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Social media has completely changed the way we communicate with our friends, family and the rest of the world. But along with being able to connect with everyone better and faster, it also provides countless opportunities for us to embarrass ourselves. Here’s how you can avoid committing social suicide.

You unfriend someone and they find out
We all have that one friend who can’t stop complaining about work or the price of public transport or the neighbour’s dog on Facebook. It’s so tempting to quietly ‘unfriend’ them – except that you might one day appear on their Friends You May Know list and get found out.

How to avoid it: The trick is to unfollow them instead, which will filter out their posts from your news feed. On the top right-hand corner of your home page, click on the triangular icon. From the dropdown menu, select ‘News Feed Preferences’ and it will show you an option to ‘Unfollow people to hide their posts’. This lets you stay friends with the person without having to tolerate their constant rambling on social media. 


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Another way to deal with people who post excessively is to change their status to ‘Acquaintance’. This reduces the frequency of their posts appearing on your feed. On the ‘Friends’ tab of your Profile page, find the friend in question and select the ‘Acquaintance’ option in the dropdown menu next to their name. 

You get the bo jio
You’ve just uploaded all the pictures of a wonderful gathering with your group of friends on Facebook. Then, an acquaintance comments: “Wow, looks like you guys had so much fun. Why didn’t you tell me you were meeting?”

The subtext: “You’d better invite me next time.” 

You probably didn’t intend to invite this person anyway, and it’s unfortunate that you got found out. And now that they’ve noticed, it’ll be not to ask them along on your next get together.

How to avoid it: Facebook has custom privacy settings, so all you need to do is hide selected photos from certain people. Choose the album or photo you wish to hide. Click on the icon next to the date and time of publication to adjust your privacy settings.

When you select ‘Custom’, you will see the option ‘Don’t share this with’ and a box that you can fill in with the names of the people you don’t want to see the photo.

Alternatively, limit their access to your profile. They will only be able to view posts you have made public. On your profile page, select the ‘Friends’ tab and locate the person whose access you wish to restrict. Select the option ‘Add to another list’ and select ‘Restricted’.


You have embarrassing old posts
Is that poorly-worded emo post you wrote years ago still lurking somewhere in your Facebook history from a time when your content was publicly accessible? Facebook has made it very easy for others to search through your old posts with its ‘Search FYI’ function. But you don’t have to live in constant fear that someone might chance upon an inappropriate or offensive post you made in the past.


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How to avoid it: Limit the privacy of your past posts with the click of a button. Simply select ‘Settings’ on the dropdown menu located at the top right-hand corner of your home page. Click on ‘Privacy’, then go to ‘Limit past posts’. This restricts access to all your previous content to your friends only, without you having to change the privacy settings on each individual post.


You accidentally like someone’s Intagram photo 
You’re stalking a friend of a friend on Instagram and you’ve gone as far back as 63 weeks when the inevitable happens – you double-tap by accident. 

Even if you ‘unlike’ the post, the person may already have received a ‘like’ notification. You might as well have dropped them a direct message saying: “FYI, I’m stalking you on social media”. 

How to avoid it: Prevent such mishaps from ever occurring with Instasnoop, available on the iTunes app store. The app disables the ‘like’ button on Instagram, allowing you to scroll through someone’s profile worry-free. 


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If you want to continue cyberstalking the person without following them, just add them to your Snooplist so you can access their profiles easily.


You’re looking for a new job on Linkedin and get caught
Linkedin is a great platform for finding a new job. You can get in touch with prospective employers and connect with recruiters. However, you also run the risk of getting discovered by your current employers since they can monitor your activity on Linkedin.

How to avoid it: If you’re afraid your boss might find out about your job search, change your settings on Linkedin to prevent them from stumbling upon the evidence.

First, select ‘Privacy and settings’ in the dropdown menu that appears after clicking on your profile picture. Click on ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’ and de-select ‘Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies’.

Next, click on ‘Select who can see your activity feed’ and select ‘Only you’ in the dropdown menu. This will ensure that your employers can’t track who you’re linking with on the site.