Aloha Friday: Privacy, Schmivacy

Last night my husband deleted his Facebook account, for the second time actually, so I suppose it wasn’t a big surprise. A friend of mine deleted hers, too, and I was actually kind of proud of her and a little jealous. I almost deleted mine, too, but couldn’t go through with it. Not because of my addiction to Family Feud or Farkle or anything lame like that (I swear) but because since moving to Wisconsin last year, Facebook is kind of my lifeline to friends and family we left behind.

Sure, I could write them a letter or email them or call them or something. Maybe they’ll read my blog and comment more. But it won’t be the same. Facebook, as much as we like to knock them down a lot over Privacy, etc., have become an integral part of the way we all keep in touch. And as someone who is classically bad at keeping in touch with people, it’s kind of a godsend.

Of course I could try just chatting with people on Twitter or Skype or something – or like I said, give them a call or email them. But let’s be honest.

I probably wouldn’t.

My fault, I know, but it’s true – and I think it’s important that I be honest with myself here. I hate talking on the phone and I get wrapped up in all my own silly and forget. I can sit here and blabber on about myself until the cows come home, but unless I’m following your blog or your tweets or your Facebook account, I might never remember to check in with you. Just ask my dad.

And Facebook allows me to not only check in on other people’s stats and look at pictures of their cute kids – it also allows for conversation without having to start said conversation with an awkward, “So what’s new?” You just update your status with whatever crosses your mind as mildly important and they do the same – and you comment on what they say and vice versa. And sometimes multiple people comment, and you can talk to them, too, about – whatever. It’s small talk and it might seem trivial, but it makes all the difference.

In Twitter you get the stats and it’s fun, but it’s not a real back and forth conversation – and it’s hard for other people to jump in. With an IM service like Skype or AIM or with an email, you have to initiate that conversation – you have to have something to say to them. As I type this, I’m feeling lamer by the second, but it’s still true. Facebook has really created something special in the way they allow people to converse. It’s not rocket science but it’s well done.

And with so many other websites I use interacting with Facebook, the list of possibilities for conversation grows. I can post my 365 pictures to my account so non-365ers can see and comment, too. My Netflix ratings can get posted there which is fun if not necessarily crucial. I can report buzz from my BzzAgent account and share opinions about the newest little word of mouth website, Smile.ly. And lets not forget the games – of course you can play online games anywhere but playing a game with a friend is always more fun. All of these websites are working with Facebook so me working with Facebook, too, makes it all a better experience. And adds to the privacy issue…

All of these websites and people are all interacting with Facebook and sharing their information with each other and everyone else – and it’s gotten so huge and so popular, that it’s really no surprise that this whole privacy issue has gotten to be such a big deal. It’s all out there – and unfortunately controlling your privacy on Facebook is no small task. There are layers upon layers upon layers of stinky settings to go through – so some people don’t bother and other people, like my husband, just leave. It’s tough.

As a blogger, I think about privacy a lot. I go back and forth over what to share and what’s too personal and how many little things added together could create a problem. I’m possibly a little bit hypocritical about it, being stubborn in some areas and very liberal in others – I do my best but I know there are things out there and I’m taking risks. Same goes for Facebook, but blogging to me has become sort of like breathing – and Facebook is apparently similarly important to me because of the friendships I’m maintaining there. So for now, I’ve trimmed down the old friends list and gone a bit more crazy strict on my privacy settings and we’ll see how it goes…

Anyway, before I write a book on the subject (too late?), I’ll just open the floor up to you guys:

Do you use Facebook? What do you think of their privacy options? Have you thought of deleting your account – or have you actually done so? What would you miss most about Facebook if you left? What would you miss the least?

An Island Life

12 thoughts on “Aloha Friday: Privacy, Schmivacy

  1. yes ,I have!I would miss all the updates! I am a SAHM and I enjoy them.also some of the peeps I have reconnected with!We have thought of merging and having one together to avoid any problems!Aloha and stop by

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  2. Yes, I do use Facebook. I think there are tons of security things so people need to get over it. If you can then close your account. It is the world we live in, everyone seems to need to know everything about everyone. Facebook is no different. Most of the people I have on my Facebook are family and friends and so if I left, it would not be a problem but I dont intend on deleting my account.

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  3. My thoughts on this is if you want privacy, Facebook and other free social networks is not the place to be. I just do not put anything on the site that I would not want to be sold. Anything Free is not free there is always a cost.
    My Friday link for you

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  4. I love Facebook, because I can stay in touch with people (like you!) who I would lose touch with. I just found out my cousin’s kid is expecting a baby; otherwise I wouldn’t have found about it until much later because we’re not close.
    I do hate how FB keeps changing it’s privacy policies, making us jump through hoops to prevent our information from being shared. However, it’s just common sense to not post “Hey all, I’m going on vacation” or to post your itinerary (like my sister!) Share what you think is safe. I post my son’s name, you just use initials. You do what you’re comfortable with. Yeah, there are creeps out there but if they want info bad enough they’ll find it.

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  5. I love FB for not only keeping in touch with the friends and family I would have anyway, but for those I wouldn’t – long lost sorority sisters or school friends. Thanks to FB, I have a babysitter in Las Vegas. The privacy settings are annoying, especially when they opt you in, but I would never delete my account. Plus I’d miss Farmville too much!

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  6. I agree with everything you said. I hate the phone…I’m on it all day…so if I want to have “normal” conversation besides my hubs it’s going to be through FB. I’ve never thought of deleting my acct. I just could not ever lose that kind of connection regardless the securities. I figure it’s all out there and somehow some way my info can be found FB or no FB. People will find other ways.
    I will say that I try to ensure whatever I do say on FB, wouldn’t be anything Id be ashamed for my boss to see. Not that he’s a friend on FB just I know that my work monitors that kind of thing and I admit I’m paranoid, so much so that when I’m off of work and at home I try not to post anything..like I’m doing something wrong by being home and posting on FB when I should be working..even though I’m scheduled off . I have issues. I know.

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  7. I must say that deactivating for awhile is a really nice vacation from FB 🙂 but I acted a bit too quickly yesterday and forgot to give all our friends & family on FB our blog addy so I had to reactivate today to post that…then it’s back off tomorrow! I did completely delete my account once before but the scary thing is that it still saves your info…even after deletion. And if you want to be really into it, check out who is running facebook (it’s an ex CIA head)…so we are very likely building our own intelligence profiles and if you wanted to get paranoid…using all your info on there, they could frame you for just about anything (like some movie)!! Crazy to consider, and we did it all to ourselves – completely free to them. Now how’s that for a conspiracy theory movie? 🙂 Facebook felons or something, could be the title, ha!

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  8. Pretty sure that I’ve mentioned I hate facebook & deleted my account long ago but I still get friend requests which totally drives me nuts. I deleted on my end – why won’t they delete on theirs?

    It does scare the bejeebees outta me that I let my 13 yr old get an account. He’s pretty naive (we’ve been careful to keep our kids still kids!) & that bothers me. That’s probably why my account still gets friend requests cause I have to get on to see what he’s up to!

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  9. I could never leave facebook- I have found THE BEST coummunity of friends on there with NF (neurofibromatosis) all over the world- all with varying conditions and problems. If I did loose my mind and leave I’d miss quite a few of them dearly.

    It’s also how I keep in contact with other friends- so I could never leave.

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  10. I’m so active on FB right now, I think I’d be absolutely lost if I suddenly deleted my account. I love that it’s so easy to stay in touch with friends there. The FB privacy policy stuff bugs me but I really don’t pay much attention to the ads, etc., so I can’t say there’s much I don’t like. I have a happy little home on FB! 🙂

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  11. Yes, I use FB…but I have two separate accounts. One for blog land and one private. And, my private/personal one is so private that people can’t even find me..which is good and bad.

    But, I totally feel you on the privacy issues. I go back and forth!

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  12. I use Facebook and I’ve deleted my account before, because I was on it way too much. I needed a break. I came back to share wedding photos and all of my friends were on it and sharing photos and stories.

    I primarily use Facebook to communicate with one of my good friends. We message each other like 5 times a day (which is a lot with a toddler running around). So I would miss that the most. I also share photos of my daughter with my friends and family.

    I wouldn’t miss random people contacting me. Your post is actually making me think of the “friends” I should take off of my list too…

    As for their privacy settings, I’ve made everything private or friends only (from photos to wall messages).

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