My Facebook Account is MINE, not Yours

Before I let this one go for good, I wanted to give some very important advice to everyone about Facebook, privacy and communications

Over the past few posts, I’ve gone into waxed (perhaps not so) eloquently about a couple of school districts that have reacted badly (in my opinion) regarding Facebook posts made by either members of the academic staff or a student. The school district’s actions were to attempt to get the login credentials of the offending posters to troll through the accounts to see what else they may have said.

What they, and many potential employers who have also requested this information may not know is, it’s not necessary.

There are a few really simple reasons why, and it has nothing to do with, “I believe most people are good/bad.” It has everything to do with Facebook and the internet.

Privacy Settings
If I don’t want you or the public to see something, Facebook provides me with tools that allow me to keep it to myself. However, you have to be aware of them, and you have to use them. They aren’t invoked by default. By default, you share everything with everyone you’re friends with.

Once you’re someone’s Facebook friend, you can see just about everything. Yes, Facebook does provide a way for users to block some of their friends from seeing specific posts, but you have to specifically set those options on an individual post. Most people don’t do this, so if you post it, you’re Facebook friends are going to see everything that you do.

In many ways, Facebook’s privacy settings are broken. I’ve had a number of people tell me that even though they weren’t. This includedfriends.

The bottom line here is two-fold: 1) If you intend certain content to be only for a certain subgroup of your friends, you need to make certain you set the privacy settings on a specific post correctly; and 2) If you’re concerned with what some of your friends might say about any of your posts, maybe you shouldn’t post it to Facebook. Maybe you should just keep it to yourself…

Profiles or Posts are Mostly Public
My Facebook profile is totally public. You don’t need to be my friend to see the contents of my Wall. I’ve done this ON PURPOSE, as an attempt to be completely transparent effort to insure that no one thinks or suspects that I’m hiding anything.

I’m not the only person that has done this. If you follow me and any part of my journalism career, you’ll know that I share many of my published articles through Facebook. I’ve got clips that go back 15 years. As such, you can see much of my postings through some kind of internet search or social networking share. There are a great many people that don’t have a problem sharing publicly.

Have you even TRIED looking at

If not, and you demand login credentials, shame on you. If you have looked on your own, and you haven’t been able to find it, have you asked the person in question to “Friend You” on Facebook? Unless they’ve got individual posts blocked, you can see all of their posts without demanding their user ID and password.

If not, and you demand login credentials, shame on you. You need to take time and figure out how Facebook and the internet work.

Have you even TRIED “Googling” the Offending Post?
One thing needs to be made very clear – the internet is FOREVER.

Once you post something, it’s out there. Forever… There are things like the Wayback Machine, that archive the contents of the internet. With it, I can find posts from archived sites from 10 years ago, quite easily.

The Wayback Machine isn’t the only kind of archiver out there. For posts within the last few weeks or months, “Googling” (or searching via your search engine of choice) may get the results you were hoping for, regardless of the privacy settings on Facebook.

In the past, if Google crawled it, you could easily find it. Once its posted, it’s hard to “unpost” it. Something, somewhere is going to capture it and bring it back, likely to your disdain, over and over again.

Finally, I want to reiterate something my momma told me a long time ago – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. In the same line, if you don’t want absolutely EVERYONE to hear what you have to say on the internet, especially in light of the above, Don’t post it on line.

If you absolutely need to vent to someone or something over something or someone that’s bothering you, call a friend, (don’t text…texts like the internet are forever), talk to someone face to face, or write it in a hard copy diary that you keep under lock and key, the old fashioned way.

Better yet, TALK TO THE PERSON that’s bothering you and let them know that there’s an issue. The best way to resolve a conflict is to talk it through. Ranting…never solved anything!

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