As I’m sure many of you have heard by now, Facebook made a pretty big announcement yesterday – users will now be able to perform searches throughout the social networking site on people, places and things. Graph search is going to allow users to do more than just search for “Suzie Smith.” It’s going to let user ask questions like “what other friends of mine like the city of Dayton?”
Graph search also lets users search for things nearby – which can prove pretty useful when you’re in an unfamiliar city. That feature specifically puts Facebook more in line to start moving towards a “Yelp” like app – allowing it to serve a greater purpose than just status updates and photo sharing. Is that really the best use of Facebook though? I’m not sure.
Unfortunately, this new feature is still in the beta stage. The good news about that, is that it gives YOU the opportunity to clean up your online profile a bit before graph search hits a bigger audience. Venture Beat recently put out a good article about some things a user should consider and take action on.
Here are my takeaways.
Take a look at all the pages you like and groups you’re in. As VB states, saying that you like a band named something maybe inappropriate, might not be a major deal on a lower level – but when you aggregate that search using graph search – it could turn into something really inappropriate pretty quickly. If anything you think is questionable, it’s best just to delete, unlike, and leave.
Make sure you delete using your activity log. Deleting items from the news feed that you posted, or from your timeline profile – doesn’t really delete them. More or less, all that really does is hide them in Facebookland. You’ll want to go to the activity log on your profile and delete out of there and then it will no longer show up in search. EVER.
Check your privacy settings. It should be a no brainer by now that whenever Facebook updates something site-wide, that you should check your privacy settings to make sure nothing has changed. Luckily, with their last update, the privacy settings are easier than ever to find. Whatever your privacy settings are set as will be honored by graph search. So you if you only allow certain people to see your birthdate of February 2 – only those individuals will be able to see that you are included on a graph search for people born on February 2.
And again – this is still sitting in beta testing stage – so only a handful of users will have access to it at this point, which means you have plenty of time to start sifting through and prep yourself for what’s to come.