Is Bebo better than Facebook? Creating a profile network

As part of my research into social networks I recently joined Bebo, a social network popular in the UK and in particular among younger people.

After being an avid Facebook user for some time I wasn’t overwhelmed by the service, however added my profile details and added a link to the page to my homepage at wellbelove.com.

Being a regular egosurfer I was surprised that despite the fact that my Facebook page has been available for much longer my Bebo page was appearing higher in the Google results for a search of Christopher Wellbelove. This has since switched, however it is telling of the importance Google places on Bebo that my Bebo page has appeared on the first page of Google results so quickly.

Whilst I realise it is difficult to maintain profiles on so many sites, the benefits are clear. If Google places a high importance on Bebo then having a profile here that points to your main website, together with your pages on other social networks, by creating a profile on Bebo you will increase their rank and ensure that for users who choose the Bebo network they are still able to access some information about should they search in that network for you.

My Squidoo page, set up at a similar time as my Bebo profile, today appeared above both my Facebook and Bebo profiles in my Google egosurf. You can discover more about services like Squidoo in my article ‘Bringing it all together’.

In short, if you want the widest audience to find you, you need to invest time in placing content where the audience is – on the networks they know and trust. If you want search engines to focus on content you own, you need to invest time in creating these pages, interlinking them so that search engines will trust your profile network as an authority on information about you.

Keeping it private on Facebook

Facebook has improved the level of control you can put on which friends can see what content on your Facebook profile. Previously you had the choice of someone either seeing everything or setting up a limited profile where you could control what aspects of your profile that this second group of people can see. With just two choices the level of control was limited.

Why is this additional control so welcome? Why should you set up privacy on your Facebook profile?

After initially resisting it’s lure, and after endless ‘Facebook bullying’ by friends singing it’s praises and promising me that life would never be the same after joining – I signed up to Facebook and was immediately hooked, and life – or at least my time on line – has not been the same.

As my number of friends increased it was not long before ‘strangers’ were asking to become my friend – I remember the first time I tentatively asked ‘Sorry do I know you?’ to be told that they were a resident in my area who was pleased to have found one of their local representatives. Even some of those who asked to become a friend who I knew, I didn’t really want them to see my whole profile- give them access to every part of my life.

Up until that point I had enjoyed sharing my social life with friends on Facebook, with over 131 photo albums uploaded. I had worked out how to stop ‘the world’ being able to access all my details – restricting access to a majority of my profile to just my friends, but saying no to one of my constituents could give the wrong impression….

With the limited profile you could restrict access to just about every aspect of your Facebook profile, but with just one limited profile to choose from – what if you have a relative you want to share wedding pictures with but not the last works Christmas party or the fact you’ve added a ‘Are you interested’ or some other dating add on?

Controlling your privacy sessions on Facebook is like managing an invite list to a party. You may only invite those special friends that you trust whilst you are letting your hair down – but if you do do something that you may not want everyone to know about you have to trust that the friends you invite don’t whip out a camera to capture the moment for prosperity – though if they do – that they control the privacy on their Facebook profile. Whatever you add to your profile, someone who has access could do a screen capture and there is nothing you will ever be able to do about that. This is not about hiding information but with an increasing number of employers ‘Googling’ employees prior to interviewing them you really have to control your personal on-line profile from your professional life.

Enhance privacy on Facebook
With enhanced privacy on Facebook you can control access to key areas of your profile both by the general ‘limited profile’ or restrict access on an individual basis. Areas that you can control access to on an individual basis

Profile
Basic Info
Personal Info
Status Updates
Subscription
Photos Tagged of You
Videos Tagged of You
Online Status
Friends
Wall
Education Info
Work Info

Should I control my privacy on Facebook

Everyone should set up privacy on Facebook, especially for details such as your home phone number and address – do you really want this in the public domain along with a Facebook status that says you are on holiday for a week? Limit photographs just to your friends – would you want your current or future employer to see what you got up to last weekend?

For busy politicians Facebook is a brilliant way of keeping in touch with friends, sharing pictures and generally maintaining contact with people who otherwise you could lose touch with due to a packed schedule. It can also be an opportunity for politicians to connect with their constituence – with improved privacy from Facebook you can now use your Facebook profile to do both.