Facebookophobia

It’s been in the news lately and I’ve seen all kinds of questions about it on the forums.  Is it possible that Facebook could be the downfall of Western Civilization?  After all, your employers could ask you for your Facebook name and password and they could find out all kinds of awful dirt on you!

Or you could say no.  Or you could do like I do and not have a Facebook account to begin with.  Heck, you could just tell a prospective employer that you don’t, even if you do. How are they going to know?

Oh wait, lots of people with Facebook accounts splash photos of themselves, as well as embarrassing tales all over the front of their publicly-accessible page.  That’s just stupid.

If you have a page like that, you deserve to lose opportunities.

Everyone ought to go do a Google search on themselves and see what comes up.  Put in your real name, click search.  If anything comes up on you, you’re doing it wrong.  I do not have a single trace of anything online under my real name.  None.  Sure, there are other people with the same name that come up, but for me?  Not a thing.  Anywhere.  I just have no online presence whatsoever under my real name and I like it that way.

At the very least, to keep out unwanted prying eyes, make your FB page accessible only to people on your friend list.  That way, no casual viewer can access your information and you can still tell anyone who wants to see what you’ve been doing there to take a flying leap, which certainly anyone who asks should be told.

But wait, they ask, what if some prospective employer creates a fake FB account and pretends to be an old high school friend who wants to get in contact?  Then they can get past all the privacy settings and see all the bad stuff you have on your page!  First off, if that’s the case, you’re an idiot.  That stuff should never be there in the first place.  Secondly though, how often does that kind of thing happen?  Do old “friends” just pop up out of the blue every other day?  Seriously, the only people I talk to from high school, and there are very, very few of them, are people I never lost contact with to begin with.  They are people I took care to keep in touch with all along.  Anyone who comes along and claims to be a “high school friend”, isn’t.  There isn’t anyone that I went to high school with that I lost contact with that I want to speak to again.  As I said, I do not have and will never have a FB account, but even if I did, there just would never be anyone popping up out of the blue who I’d want to have the slightest contact with anyhow.

That’s really the thing though, what’s the point of a FB account that you couldn’t get in another way just as easily?  If I want someone to get in contact with me, I have many other ways to do so.  If they’re not in contact, that’s because I have no interest in contact.  Putting a big beacon out there that says “HERE I AM!” seems foolish.  Not all that long ago, people weren’t that easily findable.  That was in the days before cell phones, where people weren’t instantly reachable any time, day or night.  I am available to people I want to be around at my convenience, not theirs.  If I don’t want to talk to someone, I turn my cell phone off and let it go to voice mail.  If I don’t want to be found, I can’t be.  I am an active participant.  Far too many people are passive participants.

One thing the Internet brought with it is the need to maintain privacy.  I can be social and not lose that privacy if I just maintain a little control.  That means limiting access, it means keeping my online persona separate from my offline self and taking charge of how, when and where I can be contacted.  I never have to worry about being bothered, attacked or having the lives or livelihoods of my family at risk.  I can have access to my friends, both online and offline and I never have to put up with Facebook.

Seems like a good system to me.

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