Monday, January 13, 2014

Privacy Settings Are Your Friends

It's not just teenagers who overshare on Facebook. Adults are just as guilty of giving out too much personal information.

I speak from experience. I've been on the receiving end of Adult TMI. (Sounds like a disease, doesn't it?) As the administrator for the Cape Fear Crime Festival's Facebook page, I read updates from hundreds of our organization's friends. Most of them are authors or aspiring authors, maybe a few mystery fans as well.

When I sign on and go through the list of status updates in the news feed, invariably I'll see a post from someone I've never met requesting prayers for a dying parent, or describing a spouse's recent trip to the emergency room, or in one case, announcing a specific cancer diagnosis.

Lately, I've taken to unchecking "Show in news feed" in the "Get Notifications" drop down menu when I see one of these posts.

Because I don't need to see that.

It has gotten me to thinking about what I share on my personal Facebook page. (I have a fan page, but with a total of 29 likes, I tend to forget it's there.) I share lots of things, mostly opinions and observations that show my political leanings, but I stay away from personal medical issues. That's nobody's business.

Yes, Facebook is a convenient way to keep friends and family appraised of a medical situation. In that case, you can create a private group where postings can only be seen by people in that group. Only the people who truly care about your mother will get updates on her condition.

Or, you can check the privacy settings when you make your post. It's in the right corner of the box. You can choose friends, close friends, family, groups, or customize it.

If you're an author and using your Facebook page to promote your books, you don't need to share anything about your colonscopy. Share that with your real life friends.

Then again, your real life friends probably don't want to know about your colonoscopy either.

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