Model Privacy – Part 1

Privacy issues are an ever-present topic in today’s world with Facebook and other social networking sites. Today’s post will be one in a series covering common privacy issues models face.

Privacy is a delicate topic of models – you want to market yourself, you want to get your face out there and a big part of that is getting exposure to people you don’t know – but you want to do it safely. There’s a fine line between too much and not enough.

Models often have difficult decisions to make with regard to how much information to share online “publicly”. Social media (for all it’s great networking advantages) can be used as a tool to track people down if you’re vigilant about what your share with your audience. It can be a pretty quick way to pinpoint someone with what used to be seemingly innocent information.

You hear horror stories in the news of online stalkers etc. Granted this stuff doesn’t happen everyday but in today’s world you do have to exercise caution – it’s just common sense. If you’re not going to use a stage name for your modeling identity I encourage models to at least develop a modeling-dedicated email address. One NOT tied to any personal accounts you have online. And then, set up separate FB accounts for your “modeling life” this way you can keep your modeling and personal lives separate (and contacts). This gives you a great deal of control over how much information your professional contacts can easily access about you online.  If you’re not up for switching between accounts then set up a Facebook Page for your modeling related activities and connect with photographers and industry folks solely through your page instead of your profile.  The same would hold true for other social media outlets – namely Instagram.

Understand your privacy settings:

Users need to be aware of the kinds (and amount) of data is and can be shared about you – especially over Facebook (often without you knowing it). Facebook’s Privacy controls have seen some great streamlining over the last few years. They’re not as complicated as they used to be, however, it’s important you know how the content you post is shared.  Take a moment to review your privacy settings.  For each person the “best scenario” is a little different. But some good general guidelines to consider:

  • Set your default post visibility to “friends only” this means people who aren’t friends with you can’t see your posts unless you specifically set a post as “public”. Considering doing the same with your pictures.
  • Change the privacy settings of your friends list to something other than public – ideally only visible to you.  This means people can’t see who your connected to (which could aid in them finding out where you spend your time – especially through pictures). Note: Any mutual friends you and someone else share will be displayed.
  • Avoid setting your main profile picture to a photo commonly seen on your modeling profiles and/or modeling social media accounts.
  • If you use a stage name, separate modeling accounts or other means to separate your personal and modeling online don’t tag the accounts in other media you post (and make sure your friends don’t either).  This just creates a bridge to link your personal and professional identities together.

I would urge you (especially parents of minors) to review this information and your (your children’s) FB account settings to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your privacy.