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“Delete Your Facebook Page Day” has a point, but I’m not sure that Zuckerman really cares…

Don’t let the experience use you. You need to be in control.

Delete Your Facebook Page Day is May 31. In an attempt to show Facebook rajah Zuckerman that they’ve had enough, some 3000+ users are planning an exodus to better pastures of social online networking by deleting their pages. This is all in response to the power trip that Facebook is on now to basically consume and regurgitate the Internet in Facebook flavors.

All of these new recent changes, like connecting the things that you “like” to Facebook pages and outside markets, connecting your statuses to something outside of your profile, and changing the way that users edit their pages and privacy options can all seem overwhelming and a little intimidating to the normal Facebook user. I totally understand that.

But a huge rally to delete your page to show Zuckerman the civic unrest among Facebook-ians? I don’t really see the point.

Facebook is a way to experience the Internet. Don’t like the experience control you. You are in control of the experience.

I’m a little torn here. As a professional Twitter lifecaster, I have very few boundaries in terms of what I share online. I talk about my romantic relationships, how much I hate my job, where I am at the time, and whatever else is on my mind. But I don’t use my real name, for privacy reasons (and so that my family can’t find me and snitch to my mom). I am fully aware that tweets show up in search results now. It’s all about playing smart.

With that said, on Facebook, I’m a little more careful about what I put out there. I use my real first and last name. My email address and birth date are entered on the site, but are set to private. I refuse to enter my cell phone number. My statuses are usually tweets that I’ve pushed to Facebook, or quotes from songs or movies. While I put things that I “like” on there, I’m not one of those people who’s a fan of “Not Getting Shot in the Face” or “People Who Breathe”, and I’m definitely not a fan of anything that would get me in trouble with the law, or my parents, or a current or potential employee. My status photo right now is a screenshot from Iron Man 2. Before that, it was a pic of me and the bf. Very “normal”, non-incriminating stuff.

I say all of this to say that we have to be smart with what we put out there. I’ve had a job look me up on Facebook. And, really, I couldn’t be mad at them. I put myself out there, you know?

Being on Facebook is like owning a pitbull. First off, no one told you to buy one. You made the decision to own one yourself. Secondly, you know what you’re getting into, that they’re unpredictable and have a bad reputation. And most importantly, your experience is what you make it. If you treat your dog like crap, you’re dog might just bite you. If you love your dog forever, it may still bite you, but at least you’ll know it was just playing or made a mistake, and at least they didn’t cause serious harm or danger. Is anyone following me here?

So Facebook is running all over the Internet, tearing through your favorite pages like IKEA pillows and generally trying to make a mess of everything, just because they can. You have two options here. You can either say “Bad dog” and give up on being a pet owner. Or you can train that pitbull to do what you want it to, while always knowing that it could potentially screw you over when you least expect it.

Every time I log onto Facebook, or Google myself (which I suggest that everyone does at least once a month), I expect to see some new piece of my self plastered somewhere that it shouldn’t be. And when that happens, I delete it, or hide it, or say “Crap” and deal with it. But it’s the nature of the beast. That’s why I really do most of my online living on Twitter.

“Delete Your Facebook Day” has heart. But, really, how about a “Be a Smart Facebook User Day”? A lot (well about 80%) of this issue of Facebook privacy fans on Zuckerman and the Facebook team for basically being info harvesting scumrockets that are trying to get us into the Wired (Serial Experiments Lain reference) at lightspeed. But the rest is on the users to not put so much of themselves out there to be harvested, or at least know your limits. Ignorance is not an acceptable excuse. Learn how to use these tools before you pick them up and start playing with them.

Or just check this out: Over at ReclaimPrivacy.org, there’s the most awesome tool ever to make sure that you’re page is as tight as possible. Just drag the “Scan for Privacy” button onto your bookmark bar and click on it when you’re on your Facebook page and it will do the rest. So simple to be safe and not stupid.

Knowing’s half the battle, right?



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May 2010
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