Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Too much Facebook privacy can be bad

On Lifehacker, Adam Dachis suggests that being too private on Facebook can hurt you because “When you post nothing, everyone else decides who you are.”
“You don’t have control over what other people post about you. If you get drunk at a party and someone snaps a photo, it may end up online. Sure, you can untag yourself and try to control the possible damage from embarrassing stuff popping up, but there’s really no way to stop it all. You may not have active tags on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that photo won't still exist and won’t show up elsewhere. When people are constantly contributing information to Facebook, as well as other parts of the web, you’re always stuck playing catch up if you're trying to control how others talk about you.”
It certainly requires vigilance to keep up with people’s tags, which are entirely too easy to make.

People have added me to political groups entirely without my consent and I had to remove myself afterward. But for the brief time I was displayed in that person’s group, anyone could have formed an impression of my political leanings. They wouldn’t know I was added involuntarily.

Another person tagged me among more than 30 people in connection with an event that I wasn’t going to nor had anyone ever spoke to me about. Again, anyone seeing me tagged in connection with that activity could form all sorts of conclusions.

People’s intrusive tagging could easily skew my reputation, absent my direct input.

The solution, according to Dachis, is to publicly post what you want others to see:
“It’s fine to keep most of what you post on Facebook pretty private and only visible to the friends you want to see it. That said, if you want to look good in public you should be posting a few things that make you appear like the upstanding citizen you believe yourself to be. Share photos from fun family events, opinions about a gadget you really love or hate, and tame messages like regular birthday wishes. There are plenty of things you can share in public that don’t reveal anything private but show that you’re a good person.”
The flip side to this, of course, is that preemptive public sharing may force people into a more public role on Facebook than they desire or feel comfortable having. Where do you stand on this?

My thanks to ALA Techsource for sharing the Lifehacker commentary. Read the complete post at http://lifehacker.com/5912382/why-being-too-private-on-facebook-is-actually-a-bad-thing.

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