How-to Decide What NOT to Post On Facebook Part I [guest post]

Facebook - avoid oversharingCan I stop you for a moment to talk about a particularly modern, Western habit? Over-sharing. Not content with talking indiscreetly in lunch queues, on instant messaging and in email, people are habitually sharing all manner of personal information and opinions on Facebook without a second thought.

Why? Facebook has garnered a hideous reputation for security and the almost complete lack of privacy, violating many of its’ previous rules every time it goes in for a face-lift.

You think Facebook is a comfortable and safe environment, warm, fuzzy and benevolent? Try a casual web search you will see how many of our indiscretions appear on Facebook.

First up, what marketing people refer to as segmentation: is Your Facebook profile private or professional? Is this for family and friends? Or is this a work thing that you want colleagues and prospective employers to see?

Without a great deal of care, your private and professional lives can clash horribly.

We’ve heard of the obvious things; complaining about your boss on-line, only to find they’ve followed you; telling your friends about the party you went to instead of choir practice only to find your mother reading your posts; sharing inappropriate links or photos of yourself, and having them show up in the wrong places.

Sometimes those wrong places are Twitter and and LinkedIn. Integrate those broadcast services with Facebook, as they all encourage you to do, and without any chance to edit, they will cross-post all that material you thought private in Facebook to the public Internet. Yowsers!

Unless you’ve carefully compartmentalised your life, you shouldn’t connect all your social media accounts together. LinkedIn is supposed to be for the work and professional you. Twitter has no concept of privacy.

Facebook as your brand
Facebook started as a social thing for sharing with friends. Only lately has it turned into the corporate beast for brand advertising and marketing, and that’s because of the 800 million users. Business goes where the people are.

Which presents something of a dilemma. Normally you’d keep work-related things away from it as much as possible. Now if you’re starting your own business, or your ‘brand’ is you, or, heaven forbid, you fell for the hype and are using Facebook as your web-page (tut, tut), you must clean it up and make it professional.

If your Facebook page is marketing you and you give it as a reference point for clients, job interviews, college applications, there are certain things you don’t want on there.

  • Pictures of you drunk
  • Pictures of you naked (unless you’re a model)
  • References to how much you drank
  • References to your substance abuse, drug habit or cruelty to kittens
  • References to your tax dodges (the IRS also scans Facebook)
  • Hate-speech (it’s already illegal in case you didn’t know)
  • Undue profanity. I swear like a trooper, I’m Northern, that’s what we do. But not on-line.
  • Bad-taste graphics or jokes. Do not re-tell ‘The Aristocrats’ in any version.
  • Pornography. Unless you are a pornographer.
  • Yourself appearing in any pornography. Unless it’s your job.
  • Details of your extra-marital affairs. Facebook pages are now being used in divorce cases.

And these cardinal sins represent the tip of the iceberg. I’ll leave you to go do that much housecleaning on Facebook. More in Part II. AJS.

Related: More Facebook Privacy Tips

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