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Facebook and Privacy Don’t Mix!

October 1, 2011

But in my opinion, they aren’t supposed to either.
Social networking is entirely about being found. If you’re not willing to be found you probably shouldn’t be social networking, at least on Facebook.
The original point of Facebook was to be found by other people. You put in information such as your educational background, your likes or dislikes, where you live and your age. It keeps track of your friends and the idea is that information is shared with everybody you’re friends with and everybody they are friends with too. So if you know somebody who knows somebody you hook up. Or at least that’s the idea.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for privacy, but not in this context. Twitter is about privacy. You don’t have to tell anybody anything except post it every time you sneeze. There is minimal identifying information and the whole point is just to continually post updates about what you’re doing or blogging about so people can follow you. Facebook is not Twitter. The point of Facebook is to keep in touch with friends you already have, but also make a whole bunch of new ones and expand your social horizons. Posting every time you sneeze is entirely optional on Facebook.
I think it’s also important to note that very little of the information that you can enter on Facebook is actually required. There is nobody sitting there holding a gun to your head saying you must post your birthday. However, if you do put at least the month and day you were born up there you will get a whole bunch of birthday greetings out of it. (It’s a nice reward after a hard years work!) And there are privacy settings available. You don’t have to share your information with friends of friends. You can modify those settings so that your information is only shared with the people on your contact list.
There are too many privacy groups going after Facebook complaining that too much information is shared. Again, nobody makes anybody enter information they don’t want to share and the privacy settings are there to limit who sees what. I think we need to remember the original goal of Facebook and use it for it’s intended purpose.
Here’s my solution: If you don’t want to be found use Twitter instead.

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