Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Facebook philosophy

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Do you have a Facebook Philosophy? What is it?

I joined Facebook just before the new year and I'm still figuring out what I want out of it.

Blogging on several sites, I have quite an active online life. I don't think I said anything (much?) that bad, incriminating or mean spirited (other than my Walmart posts), but my online life has been pretty separate from IRL, or real life.

Facebook seems like a dramatic collision of online life and IRL. Well, not as dramatic as tectonic plates smashing together and causing earthquakes, but there could be reverberations.

Certainly, anyone with internet access can read my blog, but let's face it, only a teeny-tiny fraction of plugged in folks do, and an even smaller fraction of my IRL peeps do. I know this because if I'm in a group of friends telling a story that I posted on my blog the week before and no one expresses a hint that they've heard said story, they're not reading. This happens every month in my book group.

But I feel like being on Facebook makes it all more visible.

And Facebook presents users with an odd mashup on people. I've heard more than one user complain that the mix of folks on their wall: ex-college boyfriend, spouse, current babysitter, kids and work colleagues- is just too weird.

I heard about a newish feature called Super Friend (or something like that) that allows you to friend everyone, but create a separate space for the truly special ones. That's getting a bit complicated.

And yet, I have almost a dozen invitations that I haven't responded to because I'm paralyzed. I don't know what to do.

This is why I need a Facebook philosophy. But then, I pause and think, WTF? I must have way too much time on my hands and or I'm taking this all much to seriously. And then I understand my Smartypants is so picky about who he calls his friend (IRL, no FB, yet).

And then there's the whole issue about losing control of my online identity. People start writing about my past-just mundane stuff--so far at least--but it's fairly public and I find that odd. I'm happy to tell you about my education or career path, but I don't need, I don't want it, laid out for everyone to see along with notes from former co-workers or roommates about the time we did this or that.

On my blog, I tell my stories and share my thoughts. If I'm going to share someone else's story, I ask permission. I don' t think FB works like that. And that makes me uncomfortable.

It's not that I have much to hide, it's just that I don't see a need to have it archived all in one spot, viewable by anyone who my FB "friend." My digital footprint is large enough already.

So if you've got an outstanding FB invitation to me for a me to friend you, play a game, fan your blog or product, you're just gonna have to wait until I've found my Facebook philosophy and decide ho to respond.


Kevin Burke said...

I hear many people struggle with their philosophical approach to FB, like you are. I usually tell them about the different ways of grouping people and how to control who sees what - essentially control over your privacy. FB does privacy control really well, but it is not promoted all that well. This page gives users lots of control.

InTheFastLane said...

I have tried to keep facebook for my RL friends and family (including my parents, grandparents & daughter). Although I have a very few select blog friends on there. I don't have any mention of my blog on facebook. And even though some of my RL family and friends know about it, I have not yet decided that everyone who knows me on facebook, needs to know about my blog.

Sprite's Keeper said...

My time on Facebook is pretty limited. I tend to play with the status updates and not much else. Once in a while, I'll get into a chat with someone, but keep the personal stuff out of it for the most part. I do have updates from my blog post every day and once in a while, one of my IRL friends will comment, but it's okay if they don't.

Jen said...

At first on Facebook I didn't really think about any sort of philosophy but then I started to reevaluate what put out there.

I have work people on my Facebook and I really don't want to come across as flaky or unstable.

I recently took my personal blog link off of Facebook.I figure those on Facebook I want to visit my personal blog already have the link.

This is going to change how I interact on Twitter too, though since it's linked to my Facebook. I may un-link it so I can post links to my personal blog on Twitter.

I do have a weird mash-up of people on there but I kind of like that. ;)

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I completely understand. I know a lot of people directly link their Twitter with Facebook and I haven't done that and I doubt I will. I also don't have a feed to my blogs on Facebook although I occasionally will link to a post.

I only live about an hour from my hometown so the thing that is somewhat irritating to me is I obviously have stayed in contact with the classmates from high school that I really value as friends and vice versa so I'm not sure what my "Facebook friends" really mean as friendships go.

I also don't list my current employer, but did go ahead and list my past two. I don't know...I'm with you. There's a fine line between just enough and too much information on the Web!

Leighann said...

I wrote about exactly this subject last week.

I am not sure I want my public and private lives to collide (though they already do to some extent).

Can I become a force online without using my name?

Do I want my IRL friends to know about my online activities?

I'm in a constant struggle about this. And I don't have any answers yet.

Naomi said...

I don't even know if most of my real life friends have noticed I have a website listed, to be honest. It's been great getting odd emails from long-lost friends and relatives. (You should friend me so we can see if we have any weird UT overlap since we were there at the same time!) But I know what you mean, it does seem oddly convenient to keep some things compartmentalized.

Dawn said...

I LOVE Facebook!! I have a huge assortment of people as friends on there. It just really hasn't bothered me at all.. YET! LOL!

I have my link for my blog on there and I love that all my friends from childhood on up can now follow my blog.

But, I'm a pretty social person so maybe that's why it doesn't bother me?!?!

I hope you can figure out your philosophy! LOL! I do understand what you are saying. :)

Kristina said...

I hope you keep writing about this as you figure out your FB philosophy. You've brought up a lot of points, some of which I've pondered, some of which I haven't even thought of.

My big fear is being tagged in some inappropriate photo (not that I've done anything wild ... I'm tame) or some writes something horrible on my wall (which I'll just delete).

I think it might be different if I worked for company but because I'm self employed I don't mind the intersection.

I won't link Twitter to FB, tho, because I like to keep those separate and many of my friend and followers are duplicates so it would get annoying for them.

Also, I don't promote my blog links as much on FB as I do on Twitter because I have more RL friends on FB and don't want them to think they're just a promo tool.

Jodi said...

Great points Kim! I don't know how I missed this post before. I too struggle with the mis-match of people on my Facebook page, and also my kids' privacy, so I no longer post photos of them.