I’m Madelyn Chortek and I work as Karen Cortell Reisman’s Marketing Assistant. Five years ago, I was a senior in high school, and Facebook was a mysterious website I couldn’t access because it was only for students in college. There were no photos, videos, status updates, chatting, or applications, and the URL was thefacebook.com. Facebook was a way to stay in touch with your friends from home who went to other schools and to find that person in your biology class so you could get notes.

Fast-forward five years, and Facebook is nothing like the site I dreamed about accessing in high school. Facebook is pervasive – everyone from my mother to kids I used to babysit is now on the site. This fact is a blessing in that I have been able to reconnect with people I thought I would never see or talk to again, but it can also be a curse.

Impression management is more important than ever when it comes to your Facebook profile. Before a first date, it’s probably safe to assume that your date has already looked you up. Similarly, before an interview it’s also probably safe to assume that your prospective employer has looked you up. Do you really want either of these people to know all the graphic details of your illness or your massive hangover? Do you want your boss to see on her news feed that you were looking for nails on Farmville (that’s a computer game) during that time when you were really supposed to be working on that big presentation?

The first thing you must do is check your privacy settings. You can set boundaries about who sees your profile, what you post, and what others post about you. You can find all these options on privacy settings under the Account table. Second, as tempting as it is to share with the world how you leveled up on Mafia Wars, think before you post. Does the world really need to know about that?

It’s overwhelming to control the image you portray to the world. I yearn for the simpler days of Facebook, and I’m in the Gen Y pool, but I fear those days are long gone. Instead, I’ll go play my favorite Facebook game, Scramble. But don’t expect to read about it on your news feed.

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