How-to Decide What NOT to Post On Facebook Part I

Facebook - avoid oversharingCan I stop you for a moment to talk about a particularly modern, Western habit? Over-sharing. Not content with talking indiscretely 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.

Segmentation
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 online, 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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About Allan J. Smithie
Allan J. Smithie is a journalist and commentator based in Dubai.

5 Responses to How-to Decide What NOT to Post On Facebook Part I

  1. Pingback: How-to Decide What NOT to Post On Facebook Part II | Allan J Smithie

  2. Lakenya Pershing says:

    After interpreting the article, I feel that I want more information on the topic. Can you propose some resources please?

  3. Laura Lee says:

    You said not to post this for this reason: “Hate-speech (it’s already illegal in case you didn’t know)”

    Blessings. Please define “hate speech”. Because in this free country, we stand for the rights of people to express opinions — even opinions we consider “hateful” (that we don’t agree with) — calling it “free speech”. If enough people believe that we don’t have free speech… and rather someone else can define our speech as “hateful” and prevent it (according to their own profit and personal motives)… then the people voluntarily give up their rights through propaganda brainwashing by the “powers that be”. :) I.e. Never believe that someone else can define “hate speech” on the soil of a free nation… and suppress it and abridge that freedom through government.

    • Laura: although I remind folks that hate-speech is illegal according to existing statutes, the discussion of what constitutes hate-speech is not so straightforward.

      Defining what is free expression (something close to my heart as a journalist) and what is plain bigotry and incitement to violence unfortunately demands a tight-rope walk along a crooked line through shadows and darkness, made worse by the clamouring masses below and the grasping of quick-fix, expedient solutions by politicians who succumb to the notion that “someone” has to “do” “something.”
      They rarely get it right.

      I personally am quite happy to see Neo-Nazi racist bigotry struck out; fortunately, though, I do not have to judge whether some far-right party candidate or radical Islamist preacher crosses the same line. France bans the sale of Nazi memorabilia because it allegedly perpetuates Nazi ideology, whereas I say these are historical artefacts and it is ideologues who perpetuate Nazi ideology.

      We do not live in a black and white world; Boku Haram claims faith-based justification for indiscriminate slaughter and Putin spouts his anti-LBGT nonsense because it’s a useful distraction from the nefarious workings of his corrupt government. Beyond that, I am not qualified to judge where on that grey line most opinions sit. And as you rightly point out, nor are most governments. AJS

  4. Laura Lee says:

    Thank you for a thoughtful reply. What constitutes “bigotry” depends on one’s own bias as well. For example, what I personally find beautiful or lovely or good or just… I explain the dislike or contempt of others for it as “bigotry”. There’s an inherent definition of what is “right” in defining an opposing set of dislikes as “bigotry”. I think if we all were more humble about prosecuting our own preferences as “right” and opposition to same as “bigotry”, we would not be prepared to become Nazis ourselves by making an opinion contrary to our own illegal calling it “bigotry” using the long arm of fascist police power to enforce our opinions, our likes, our dislikes, upon others by the use of a gun. After all, that is the only means of police power… a gun pointed at someone else’s head.

    I think if we all agreed together to disagree and to protect one another from a gun pointed at the head of someone who disagrees with us in likes, dislikes, preferences, opinions, values, beliefs, and definition of what is beautiful, lovely, good, or just… and agreed that the necessity is to convince one another in our own equal liberty by persuasion or accept that we don’t agree… then we are returning to the cause and heart of liberty.

    Making certain something we define as “hateful” remains legal to speak does not negate the power of the free marketplace of ideas where in a free land we have liberty to speak to convince others of the rightness of our views, and they have the right to agree or disagree. We have previously always held in America to the view that the free marketplace of ideas and free speech is the only way to truly convince someone else of our views while preserving mutual dignity.

    If I have the opinion that the LGBT movement is a movement of persons engaging in gross and perverse sins… that is my right. That someone else finds it noble, lovely, pure, and of a good report and calls me a “bigot” for my own definition and understanding of what is right is simply diverse opinions… until they point a gun at my head and tell me I must agree with them or I will be killed or imprisoned or fined for a “thought crime” on the basis of the arm of the fascist regime of the government they have created in their lack of respect for my human right and dignity to make up my own mind.

    It is my opinion that the LGBT movement is a movement of persons engaging in gross and perverse sins.. and I have the right under God to tell them so and call them back to God and true holiness through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord in the grace of God in His deliverance of sinners from gross sins in His own mercy and love.

    Now, if these persons want to pull out a gun and put it to my head demanding that I submit to their belief system giving up my own by force through a fascist regime.. that’s always the result of the lack of respect for the rights and dignity of others in forcing others to agree where they do not agree in truth from the heart in liberty.

    I believe in free speech and the free marketplace of ideas… I don’t believe in any form of State or fascism… I believe we must all have the right to seek to persuade others to our own view in liberty as we restrain ourselves from pulling a gun as fascists through the State.

    Nor do I believe the State has any “godhood” power of stating “what is marriage”. If the State was stripped of all it’s false power to license marriage… and to tax… and to award benefits and take benefits on the basis of marital status… the wind would be taken out of the political sails… and we could all simply make up our own minds without the State pulling a gun and pointing it at the head of anyone.

    I am against all form of violence. The State is a violent agent of fascism… when it goes outside of the boundaries of simply stopping others from violence or theft… and starts trying to be daddy, mommy, king, queen, or pope…. trying to tell us what is right or wrong… bigotry, discrimination, or conformity to their standards of “what we are to think,feel,and believe”… with force of a gun pointed at all our heads.

    There is no more violent Bigot than the State.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

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