We already know that it’s more addictive than smoking, but Facebook is not a frat party. Still, a quarter of men leave their profiles as exposed as their junk at a toga party. Even in the age of increased privacy controls, men tend to live more freewheeling lifestyles online than women. These results, from a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, show the strong differences between how men and women use social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. Controlling access to your profile is a key way to manage your online reputation. It only takes a second for a future client to see those Facebook pictures of you plastered at the bar. Still, less than half of men restrict their full profiles to only their friends, compared to two-thirds of women. Friend pruning can also help you transition smoothly between your social and professional worlds, and avoid embarrassing comments about a hilarious—at the time, but not so much anymore—online video rant. In this area, women—like younger people—are more comfortable hitting the delete button. These differences are directly tied to the regret factor. How often do you post things that you later wish you could erase from the Internet? For men, that number—15%—is twice as high as women, which puts men in the same league as the impulsive younger crowd. Before you post your dirty underwear online—especially if you’re wearing them—take a moment to reel in your naturally wild side. Privacy controls and friend settings can keep your friends in the know while shutting out prying eyes…and potential employers.
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