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How to stop being an idiot on Facebook

For a lot of people, not being an idiot out in public is a challenge. For whatever reason, they feel compelled to say and do idiotic things. And I'm not talking about making a mistake, I'm talking about leaning out of your car window and cursing at people. If that's you, well, you should probably seek some help somewhere. Or you should never go out in public. But there's an easier way to be more comfortable around strangers - don't be an idiot. Here are some suggestions if you think that you may be tempted to make a complete idiot out of yourself on Facebook:

• Turn off your privacy settings. I gotta tell ya, they're worthless anyway. If you don't want someone to see something, don't post it. Yeah, I know that this is as challenging to some people as not having tinted windows in their car, but it's a good start. Everything you say and do on Facebook should be as public as anything you do out in real life in public. Knowing that what you say on Facebook can be seen by anyone should make you think twice before posting something idiotic.

• Show your real name and your real face. This got a lot of people upset when Google+ insisted on it years ago (they don't anymore), but it changed the tone of how people communicate over there. Yes, there are still idiots, but fewer. If you don't have a valid reason to hide your identity, then don't. Obviously if you're in the Witness Protection Program, or similar, you really shouldn't be exposing yourself in public. For the rest of us, what we say is public should build our reputation, not tear it down.

As a teacher, I came to realize that most people never really picture themselves as "public speakers". But every time you go out in public, you are. Put your best face forward, and be yourself. You're not an idiot.