On Facebook, Privacy Is What You Make Of It

February 9, 2011

It’s hard to imagine how we lived without Facebook. How did we know when dating someone became official? How did we keep track of our friends’ birthdays? What did we do with all our pictures? How did we spread the word about big events in our lives?

Email? Phone? Those forms of communication seem so old school now. In today’s world, you’re not “officially” dating someone unless Facebook says so. I know it’s your birthday today because Facebook says so. You know I just got back from a vacation in the Bahamas because Facebook says so.

I don’t know about you, but for me, the first place I want to run to when I’ve taken new pictures or something exciting has happened in my life is Facebook. Why? Because I want to share with my friends and family. Don’t we all? Facebook has given me a quick and easy option to reach everyone at once.

Of course, there is always a question of privacy. Is there a line that can be crossed when it comes to an individual’s privacy on Facebook? I would argue that the lines are in your control. I have had my Facebook account for seven years and have never once felt my privacy was invaded or out of my own control. The privacy settings have only gotten stronger through the years as the number of Facebook users continues to steadily grow.

I struggle sometimes to understand the worries about privacy. Facebook is all about choices — and we all make our own. If you don’t trust someone, don’t be friends with them. If you don’t know someone, don’t accept their friend request. If you don’t want anyone to know where you live or how old you are or where you work, don’t post it. If you want to share something with some people and not others, you have the option to do so. If you want to keep something completely private, you can do that as well.

To the privacy worry warts, I would ask: Why even put something online in the first place if you don’t want it to be shared? As long as we are careful what we say and who we share things with, there shouldn’t be a problem. As with everything in life, think before you do, make good choices and enjoy life made easier by the world of social media.