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Why we need to talk about Facebook

Who's afraid of Facebook?

Is it time to end it with Facebook?

I’m considering breaking up with Facebook. I’ve started to pull back a little, that gentle tug that hints a separation could be on its way. Only I probably won’t make a clean break; but I am considering my options, the value of the relationship, how much time I put into it and what I get out of it.

 I’m also bravely looking at my feelings and that sense that things maybe just aren’t right and this isn’t really what I thought it would be. The feeling that something’s just not quite right. It’s not that Katie Holmes’ they’re brainwashing me feeling, maybe more that Katie Holmes’ they’re stalking me feeling.

This comes at a strange time, this need to evaluate my involvement with FB, because my husband, who has been skeptical for the last few years about Facebook, has finally joined. He has gone from sniping at the sidelines to scanning his feed and checking his friend requests with that unmistakable FB glaze.

Maybe I’m just jealous? I don’t think it’s that; I’m genuinely happy to see him enjoying Facebook and I feel vindicated about what I’ve been telling him the last few years that there is some good to Facebook and some purpose. It’s an platform to communicate, share, discover and peer into the life of others.

But I’m also increasingly uneasy about the personal data I’m leaving behind and I think I have a responsibility as a parent not to plaster my children’s photos, videos and anecdotes all over Facebook before they even arrive on the site themselves.

I worry about these little children who in not too many years will want to join Facebook themselves and finding they’re already on it, or the school bullies finding their photos and re-posting them. I think I have a responsibility to let them start on social media with a clean slate.

My slate can never be clean but I made that decision to give over some of my e-life to the social media giant. Just today I’ve deleted all my personal photo albums as I am uncomfortable with them being on the site. I’ll let my friends see my photos at my place and I don’t want them stored on some server I can’t see and don’t know who has access to.

Sometimes I want to shrink back from social media. Now I realise there’s a certainly irony about writing this on a blog, but it’s not a simple thing. I love blogging and enjoying writing, reading comments and also following other’s blogs.

But I’m feeling increasingly wary about my privacy online in general. Just how much data does Google have about my searches and my emails? Is my internet provider or my mobile phone provider sending my data overseas to be scanned and collated? Why when I’ve visited a certain shopping site do the ads keep appearing on other sites? Who has put cookies on my computer and is gathering my internet movements?

The concept of privacy is changing, but it hasn’t, and should never, disappear completely. As internet users we must not let this happen and we must not forget that privacy is ours – don’t give it away too easily and



5 thoughts on “Why we need to talk about Facebook

  1. I hear you Ros. I haven’t made the break, mainly because I use it for my blog page and the Geege’s business page, but I have definitely stopped posting much on my personal page. I think I will take a leaf out of your book and delete my photos though. It worries me who might be watching/stalking. x

    Posted by MultipleMum | 2 July 2012, 10:34 pm
  2. I think FB is one of those digital mediums that’s a benefit and a curse depending on who has access to your information. One the one hand, ISP’s have all the info already and the horse has bolted. On the other, one can still protect their e-identity through careful dissemination of personal information and by using using privacy settings etc. But when the companies supply and control these privacy settings it’s a bit like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. Strong legislation needs to be kept up to date with the evolving technology. I am concerned about plastering pics of my children on my page although I like to see my friends’ pics so I get a sense of what they have been doing with their kiddies. But at this stage I wont be placing pics of my children up because I know I don’t have control over these images in the future. And what happens when the cyber-bullies of the future get holds of one? I’m not sure if parents are thinking this through. Perhaps I’m being a bit paranoid but better safe than sorry.

    Posted by Teachit | 12 July 2012, 7:56 am
  3. I am feeling the exact same way! I just can’t seem to make the break because my oldest daughter is on there and that is the only way I would hear updates of her life or see pictures of her and her family! Sure, she would send me a few here and there, but nothing like she posts on FB. It’s really hard breaking this habit. I would feel so disconnected. Yet, it would probably “connect” me to my immediate surroundings. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only person feeling this way.

    Posted by Emily | 6 August 2012, 6:12 am
  4. So, a year later, how are you feeling about Facebook? I’m STILL feeling the same way, yet haven’t broken up with Facebook yet.

    Posted by Emily | 2 June 2013, 1:41 pm
    • I’ve written a couple more article on Facebook and social media privacy so I am more aware of the privacy issues. But I’m still on it though as, like many users, I can’t find another way to interact with so many different people and keep up with so much news. I did take down a lot of my personal information and removed almost all photos, including my children, as everything you post is used to feed back advertising to you. It’s a giant advertising platform that looks like a social billboard. If you keep that in mind, that will help.

      Posted by Writerly | 3 June 2013, 2:11 pm

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