Facebook Is Public

Facebook-is-publicI recently had a discussion with someone who is near and dear to my heart & soul about posting pictures that could (not will, but could) have a negative effect on their “future self” with an employer, a mate, friends, or family, etc.    

 As a parent, when my daughter was young, social media hadn’t even been born yet. In a short span of time we have watched the lightening fast global expansion of social media platforms and it became quickly apparent that these platforms could be a place for some real positive interaction between friends and family, and from a business perspective it could help many businesses expand their message. Whether that message is what they are serving for lunch or their mission.  

On the flip side, it became “in your face” apparent that the social media platforms could also have a devastating and long lasting effect on someone’s employment, employment potential and embarrassing effect on their life with other family members, the community at large, and even their own children.   Social media and marketing strategist quickly and clearly touted the message – Don’t post text or pictures that you don’t want to have to explain or that could potentially harm you with employment or any facets of your life.   Just Google “Fired because of Facebook.”   Most recently a teacher, who had her privacy settings set to the strictest setting on Facebook was fired by her school district for the photos.  

Repeatedly we’ve seen politicians (Anthony Weiner), celebrities (just pick one), and people just like you and I post something (innocent or not) and then have to suffer the repercussions of that post.   It is a valid statement that Facebook has privacy settings, and you can in fact have your account set to the strictest settings possible.   Is your information (posts and pictures) safe from prying eyes?   NO, absolutely not.

Here is a scenario.   You and your 10 friends are out partying.   One of these friends takes a picture of your “activities.” Activities that could be viewed inappropriate or border line inappropriate.  And this friend tags you and all the others in that photo. Now that picture has ended up on your wall and the wall of the other 10 friends.   Each friend has 400 friends.   We all can do the math…that is 11 total x 400 = 4400 walls.   And then someone on one of those random walls shares the photo…with the data associated with the photo – and there you have it.   Facebook is Public.

And for those that say…my pictures are set so they can’t be shared.   That may be a fact that your pictures can’t be shared. What is a fact is when your picture is sent to your friends wall – that friend may not be able to share it, however they can right click the picture and save it to their computer and then re upload the picture.   Facebook is Public.

Facebook is Public, the Internet is Public – and the information posted is there for perpetuity – forever!   And I’m not saying not to go out and get crazy and have fun – heavens knows if Facebook was around in my 20s…. I probably wouldn’t be writing this today.  There are just those moments, actions, activities that don’t deserve to be memorialized forever within the social medial platforms such as Facebook.

I am not judging anyone’s behavior, I am attempting to educate and inform.   I do believe that some forethought regarding if what you are posting will serve your “Future Self.” Are you posting something that you will have to explain later to someone? There are enough obstacles in our life path to overcome without creating those that we can prevent.

Here is a good short article about 10 things not to post on Facebook:  http://www.escotal.com/top10things_not_to_post_on_facebook.html