Saturday, December 27, 2008

7 Alarming Realizations about Facebook

Now I really enjoy Facebook, but here's 7 alarming realizations ...

1. I can see pictures of people I know professionally in their pajamas at Christmas. Since apparently everyone's kids took pictures Christmas morning and posted them along with tags on Facebook, I now know who wears holiday-theme pajamas to open gifts.

2. Marketers find my association Facebook site easily, and I'm removing them. What a pain. It's always been necessary to moderate association blog comments because of the enormous volume of marketing organizations (including scams) trying to reach our audience that way (we don't let them), and now they take "open" to mean it's okay to try to clog a discussion board with solicitations. Blah.

3. If you can't trust someone with email, chances are good they can't be trusted as a Facebook friend. You know, the ones who send "those" kind of jokes or want to recount times that need to be forgotten. Unfortunately, it's possible to imagine what would surface on the Wall by clicking the word "Accept".

4. People forget that all conversation is actually not meant to be public. Sending a personal email or making a call might remain a good first step if something is potentially controversial ... or private. Maybe the media might just find what's posted on "open" sites too.

5. That thought you can separate your private life from public life on Facebook is actually implausible. Unless you genuinely have no past, friends, or relatives outside of work - you may just find your association members will in fact get to see what you looked like in that ugly gym uniform in high school.

6. I know more about what my college-aged daughter is doing during the holidays from Facebook than from sitting in the same room with her. I told her she should feel free to remove ("unfriend") me - as my thought was maybe as parents we aren't meant to see whole photo albums of our kids at college and online postings with their friends. She tells me "everyone's mother" is on Facebook; so I'm not remotely unique or a stalker (because of the "News Feed" feature), and this is actually a part of how relationships work now.

7. One of these days I'm going to figure out how to be less traumatized by exposure. Or at least have the courage to accept that there's not that much that can be done about how much will continue to be out there, whether we think we're participating or not. Can we really be public but not public?

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