I hate Facebook – that seems like the best way to start a discussion about my friends. Oh, I use it of course, otherwise how would I know I hate it; but I use it begrudgingly. I resisted it for a very long time, I’ve only been active since about August last year, and there are days that I seriously regret ever succumbing to the pressure.
There are a number of reasons that I don’t like the interface, how they capture data, how they manipulate us, or how they are changing their promotional functions and views – but this post isn’t about that. This post is about Facebook ‘friends’; and the loss of common manners when it comes to sharing content on social media.
I am finding this increasingly frustrating with my professional network since, like many people, I operate one account in Facebook for all of the various social groups in my life. Below are the three reasons I seriously dislike some of my Facebook friends; and yeah I realise some of these can also apply to Instagram and Twitter too.
Number 1 – Making photos of me public
Since when did attending an event, personal or professional, become a tacit acceptance of the fact that you might share photos of me on your Facebook page? This is becoming more and more frustrating, particularly from a person who hates photos of herself (yeah, me).
Just because I am attending an event where you are; and just because you happen to have a camera on your phone, it does not mean that I agree to you taking photos of me and sharing them for the world to see. I am probably more tolerant of this with friends – I mean real friends, people who I choose to socialise with – but even still it would be nice for them to ask if I want that particular photo spread out amongst people I know, and don’t know.
Tip #1 – ASK. If you are taking photos of people at events, especially professional events, ask them if they mind you taking the photos – and if they mind that photo going on your social media page. It’s the polite thing to do.
Number 2 – Tagging me in your status update
This usually happens in conjunction with number 1, but it can just be a status update that I’m tagged in. Quite frankly, if I wanted my Facebook friends to know where I was, I would tell them. I’m not the sort of person who generally includes status updates about what I am doing, there are some exceptions to that rule.
You do understand that when you tag me in a public photo it appears to my friends as well? Yes I know I can limit this with security permissions, but I don’t feel I should have to – and even if I do stop it being posted to my timeline, there is a chance that we share some Facebook friends if we’re at the same event. If you don’t understand how your posts are transmitted, then you don’t understand enough to use the tool, so stop now. If you do understand that then what do you think gives you the right to tell everyone who follows me what I am doing, or where I am? I feel like it is an invasion of my privacy, like you are taking away my ability to control what I tell people – oh wait, that is exactly what you are doing.
Tip #2 – ASK. If you plan on tagging someone in a status update, ask them if they are okay with you doing that. It’s the polite thing to do.
Number 3 – Crossing the streams
When people make inappropriate comments on a post that is public, or available to all of my ‘friends’. You need to pay attention when you are responding to a friend’s status, especially people you also associate with in private groups. The last thing a friend may want is you making inappropriate jokes on their own timeline, which Aunt Ruth and their current manager can see.
Some of us have very eclectic ‘friends’ on Facebook, and we may not want all of them to know about the information we share in private groups, or even just privately with you. Since you may not be aware of who someone is connected to, if the status is public then err on the side of caution.
Tip #3 – I know that it is difficult to navigate this at times, but try to maintain an awareness of who else will see the comment. It’s not for you to share on behalf of other people.
It’s a matter of privacy
I realize that I may have inadvertently done this a few times over the last year, but I am generally pretty aware of it. That’s because for me, this is all a matter of privacy, and other people thinking they have a right to make a decision about what I deem private or shareable.
Social media has changed the world and how we interact, but social niceties should still be followed. You should not assume that other people are happy with the same level of public exposure on any social media tool that you are. Many people don’t care about what is shared, but there are still some of us who do care.
So next time you want to take photos for social media, tag people in posts or make personal comments on their updates – think about whether you are breaching their privacy. Your seemingly simple actions might be taking away the right they have to a private life outside of the online space. If in doubt, ask permission.