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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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2 Searching

Now that you have thought about your current information landscape, it is time to look at how you can navigate it. For the following activities, you will use Google to search for information on a topic. You may like to also try using another search engine and comparing the results.

Activity 3 Searching for information on Facebook privacy

Timing: 10 minutes
  • Open Google [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] in a new tab or window and search for information on how to set your privacy options on Facebook. (You may be able to speak instructions for your device to search using a digital personal assistant such as Siri or Cortana, as an alternative to typing it.)
  • Find two resources: one text explanation and one video explanation.
  • For each resource, establish: who put the information there, when it was added and how well it seems to match what you are looking for.
  • Reflect on the search process you have just been through: what words did you use, and how long did it take you to find the relevant information?


A search of this nature will most likely bring back several hundred million results. Text-based resources provided by the Facebook Help Centre will probably appear at the top of this list. This guidance is a sensible place to start, but if you read a bit further down the list, you will find guidance produced by other people. Some of these other resources may give you a more complete view of Facebook privacy settings. Be aware that Facebook changes its appearance and functionality (what users can do) quite frequently, so any guidance more than a few months old may not be accurate any more.

To find videos, you may have typed the word ‘video’ or ‘YouTube’ or a combination of the two, into the search box, or you may have selected ‘Videos’ from the options at the top of the search screen.

The words ‘Facebook privacy settings’ are enough to bring back the right kind of information. However, bear in mind that in this case it is very important that information is up to date, so adding the current year to your search words may help you get what you want more quickly. It’s likely that you scanned quickly through the results you had found to see which ones looked most promising.

Whether text or video is more useful to you will depend on your personal preference and the topic. Sometimes it can be really helpful to watch a demonstration of what to do, for example, if you want to learn how to do something. At other times written guidance or instructions are preferable.

There is widespread agreement that it is relatively easy to find information online. In fact, information overload is likely to be more of an issue. The problem is not so much finding information in the first place, as in pinpointing the right information quickly. There are a few tricks you can learn to help you feel more in control.