Friday, September 18, 2009

The TimeBomb That Is Facebook

You ever feel like you are walking on the ragged edge?

You oughta.

I have come to the conclusion that it is only a matter of time before I get lost in the specifics of all my technological fascinations, and make the whopper of all mistakes. It's kinda like when I was a kid and I desperately wanted one of those chronograph watches with six thousand functions. And when I went to my "dad" and asked him for one, he said "you know, the more bells and whistles you have on it, the more that there is to go wrong."

Well, this particular watch isn't just gonna stop glowing at some point, it has the potential to leave a crater where I once stood.

Like many bloggers, I love the feeling like I am building something. And the tools available to build a following are plenty. But those tools don't discriminate between a wife and an ex girlfriend, or between your boyz and your boss.

See, I'm a blogger. And I Twitter. And yes, I Facebook. And that doesn't even account for email, two cellphones and a texting addiction. Oops, one more...I sit by the mailbox every day waiting for credit card offers...but thats a whole other thing.

When the pieces begin to be put together, you quickly uncover pitfalls with each. And you work through the problems to put in place the safest, most productive combination possible.

On my blog, I like to think I can say whatever I want. My domain, you know? Only, the wife is watching. Sometimes other family members do. What's more, it's out there to be found by search engines. And folks I work with? Human resources? Careful...

However, on my blog I have the ability to edit, or even remove a post that I should have been more considerate about...unlike Twitter. With Twitter, once it leaves your keyboard, it's out there. Gone, and permanent. Plus, you see all those followers that you are "best friends" with? What's to say one isn't your creative boss, watching from the darkness? Much as I think I know every sordid detail about every Twitter follower, I'm also pretty sure I'm an idiot.

And that brings us to the beloved Facebook. Spouses, family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, bloggers...not to mention exes of every variety. Some of whom know about my blog, some who don't. Some who have wives or husbands who don't understand any of the social media thing, think it's stupid, and who are nervous about their newfound connections. And they should be, as divorce rates are climbing, especially among Facebookers et al, who use these vehicles as opportunities to see if "the one that got away" is at all...interested.

With Facebook, the biggest pitfall is the diversity of your friends. What is gonna crack up one is gonna insult another, and a new, even remotely attractive "friend" is potentially an invitation to the Spanish Inquisition hosted by your spouse.

For a blogger, Facebook provides an opportunity to develop more of a following of your work, and a very good one at that. Benefits can be great, mistakes can be costly. Wire in your blog using NetworkedBlogs, and every time you post, it runs on the wall for all to see. But write a controvercial piece and forget for just one second that your boss is a Facebook friend, and a wisp of smoke will be where your career once stood.

My advice is simple. Develop a list of questions to ask yourself before posting anything anywhere.

Blog - Who is this gonna hurt? Do I care?

Twitter - Will I hit enter on this Tweet and wish I hadn't? 5 minutes from now? 5 years from now?

Facebook - Is this status/wall post appropriate for Trixie, my wife, Mr. Lumberg, and Pastor Stephen?

Write 'em out. Sticky them on your monitor if you have to, or staple them to your forehead, as I have done. Take a minute, and think about it. Be as controvercial as you want to, but be ready. Mistakes are gonna leave a mark.

And that ex-boyfriend?

There was a reason why you dumped him before. Same guy.

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Candice said...

Wise words, Jay. Very wise.

My mother is on facebook now if that tells you anything. Then again, she also knows about my blog.

So yeah, I'm pretty much screwed.

Sorcerer said...

Good one!
My motto kinda revolves around this
"Virginity is my attitude..I dont give a F[beep]"
Nice blog.
will come back and read again!

Em said...

It ain't called The Web for nothin' big boy.

Keep weaving.

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

I have though these same things at different times while I posted to my blog or facebook. (btw...I just became one of your "Fans") Asking those questions before is a very good idea.

-Justin said...

I'll agree to disagree. I kinda live by the attitude that I'll only post something I'd say. I try to be real and not put on any kind of internet face. You're right that there is a diversity of friends online. My comic nerd friends don't comment/care about my dad blog posts, my mother doesn't care about my comic nerd posts. I've said things I wouldn't necessarily want my mother reading, but it's still me, and knowing that she might see that doesn't stop me.

Of course, I'm not the most controversial guy in the world, either... ;)

BellaDaddy said...

Sheesh, I spent too much time worrying about what others I care that someone is sitting somehwere, having a bright sunshiny day! LOL...I had to quit most of the above social outlets, other than my blog, to keep my sanity ;-)

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

Great. Now I am gonna be paranoid everytime I log that computer on... LOL.. I actually try and do those things before I post anything anyway but you make really good points. Luckily my bosses arent friends of mine on FB and they dont know my Twitter name LOL

John, Jessica and Emma said...

I completely agree!! I think people don't realize how permanent the WWW is. Especially with younger people (yes I know I am young :)) But I think even my generation doesn't realize the repercussions that can come from posting things, especially pictures and videos.

Thanks for the post!! I love your blog!!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I love that the beauty of the typed word is that we get the chance to look at it before we click 'enter' whereas with the spoken word, once it's out, its said, there's no delete, refresh or backspace.

I think I personally do much better online than off. I like to ramble, a lot. Ha! ;)

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! In this technological age and the loss of human to human contact, we tend to forget that words still hurt, especially when they come back to bite us in the ass.

Under the Influence said...

My solution? Keep my blog and Twitter totally separate from Facebook. Facebook is where I have to watch myself much more closely because of who I am "friends" with and I never mention that I blog or twitter (tweet). I do mention on FB that I have a blog and to contact me if one is interested in finding out more. That way I can pick and choose, if necessary.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

People have been fired for posting negative status updates about their jobs and/or work. Even though things seem private, it's out there. Good idea to use caution.

That's why everything I write is untrue. I'm not even a dad.

Sarah said...

I think I've been employing most of those rules all along even though I have a whopping 6 followers on any of it. Then again I'm a pretty private person so what's out there is either so boring no one cares or it has been carefully screened through my common sense, offensiveness, and "if mom saw it" filters. Maybe I just figured out why I only have 6 followers...

Lee said...

Yesterday I posed a picture of my new work ID on my blog.
Personally, I already know that everyone on my blog knows what school I go to and what my name is.
But still SOMEONE had to point out that it was "dangerous".
If I worked at some private company, sure. But this is the ONLY community college in Las Vegas.
Way to ruin it, Anonymous.
Also, I don't facebook.
Booooo facebook.

Dave (Recycled Dad) said...

We are all public figures now!

The Devoted Dad said...

Great input. I too sit down and ask those questions of my posts. While many people in my professional life (and personal life now that I think of it) don't know that I have a blog, I know that anybody can view it, and who knows. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday somebody will see it and it is similar to placing a public flyer in the newspaper.

Elaine A. said...

But what if he dumped me??? Oh I tease...

It's a lot to ponder and to keep up with! That's why I try to stay a "goody two shoes" hee hee.

Stephanie said...

That is so funny that we both posted facebook articles on burbmom. Yours is enough different than mine - you should re-post it in a month or two! Glad to find your blog, didn't have any dad blogs on my list before! Fun!

Summer said...

You have an ex boyfriend?!? Do tell! =)

Fresh Mommy said...

Definitely a good list to have on hand. Though, you can delete Twitter updates as well... you just have to get online and log in. I agree though, edit for everyone... which can sometimes make me boring :)


angie said...

Very, very wise words. I think I'll second Em's comment. :)

Chelle said...

The exes...oh my. I wish there was an ex factor blocker or something. Although there is something somewhat addicting in seeing that they are single...haha :)

Have you ever visited Hilarious...a friend of mine is friends with the guy who created the site--it's seriously funny stuff!

Lauranie said...

You know, these are all EXCELLENT points! I think about these things all of the time, and I consider myself new to the blog world, and Facebook. Like, when I started my blog I knew that I did not want to put pictures of my children on it because it is too "public", but I have about 30+ albums on FB! I guess because I can pick and choose my "friends", I am under the possibly misguided impression that they are safer.
So I am sure that as I grow and "mature" in the WWW my views will change, but I will always keep these thoughts in my mind!! Great post!

Ann Onymous said...

Hmm. I think I'll go cull my FB friends right now.

And yes...there is one that got away. No dumping. I moved half a continent away one week after we met. We're both happily married now. *scratch scratch*

Tony@ That One Paticular Harbor said...

So well said Jay. Bravo my brother. Bravo...

posthumous pointer
To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded. - Emerson