Still on Facebook? Get Ready…

Any longtime readers of this blog know I have little love for Facebook. However, I realize it is sometimes a necessary evil on the Web. Perhaps the day is coming when that won’t be true, but for now, we’re stuck with it. And if you’re on FB and have not checked out the new Timeline, you need to do it before it’s thrust on you next week. Yep, FB is once again making a major change which compromises privacy. Aren’t you weary of this? I am and was a long time ago. When I heard about this on Mashable yesterday, I groaned and decided I wasn’t even going to talk about it. But a FB post from Grati prompted me to say something.

In my original daft of this post, I started listing the issues with the new timeline and became so irritated, I chucked it. I’m going to cheat and let someone else tell you about it:

Facebook Timeline mandatory rollout: You have 7 days to scour your past
By Mike Wehner, Tecca | Today in Tech – 21 hrs ago

The time to edit your online persona is now

Facebook is the virtual home to more than 800 million active users, so any change to how the network operates is a big deal. And nothing could be bigger for the social hotspot than completely revamping everyone’s front-facing profile page, and that is exactly what is happening today. Starting this morning, the new Timeline feature — that up until now has been an optional switch — is now mandatory.

The Timeline differs from the default profile pages we know and love in several ways. Now, rather than showcasing only your most recent posts, your personal front page can be scrolled back months or years at a time. Most importantly, this change can offer visitors a glimpse at your entire social networking past, all the way back to the day that you joined up. The revamp can be both a blessing and a curse for seasoned social networkers, as it can produce a bit of pleasant nostalgia, but also drag up some of your less proud public moments.

Left untouched, your Timeline may remind of you of breakups, job troubles, or even a few unfortunate party photos that you have long since buried. Depending on your settings, these black marks on your digital past could allow new followers — including friends or business associates — to see a side of you that was better kept tucked away.

Read the rest here

Isn’t Facebook fun? But hey, if you really want some of the old stuff back, there is almost always a way. If you read that link and say, “But Frenz, I use Internet Explorer?!!” we need to talk.

Of course the usual comments will be made, “you shouldn’t have posted there in the first place,” “or I don’t use Facebook [with the implication being how smart they were to avoid it in the first place]”. No offense to those potential commenters, but this post is not for you, and those kinds of comments do nothing to repair someone’s timeline. Although I heartily agree with you, and it should be common sense by now that anything posted on the Web (no matter how secure it supposedly may be) is subject to being publicized. If someone doesn’t agree with this, you need to know that Mark Zuckerberg considers the age of privacy over (interesting how the video where he said that is no longer).

Do you think this might be one very good reason Richard Armitage has avoided social media? Smart boy.


  1. You know, he could be on there under a different name, I have friends who do that. One of my sisters girl-friends is registered under the name Richard Head (tee hee!) so only her friends can find her.

  2. My FB account is Justin Bieber and only my friends can find me.

  3. Catherine, I’ve wondered that myself, but I’m going to say I don’t think he does. He holds his cards close, and that means only close friends would be communicating with him online, and there is no need for an FB acccount to do that when there are so many other, more private alternatives. If he has an FB account under the covers, I’ll go out on a limb and say that is a mistake. Something private could and probably would get out via “friends”. I hope he’s not that foolish.

    I wonder how many people on FB communicate with their close friends there. Feel free to weigh in.

    Violet, even with that setup, once “friends” have access to your information, they can take possession of it, and you have no control over what they do with it. The problem occurs when a friend may innocently copy another’s information or photos onto his/her wall, and that person’s friends have the implied right to copy,etc. That’s why no matter how we configure our account or our posts, it’s not private. Never has been really.

  4. For so long, anything I did on a computer was auditable, so zero-tolerance for anything personal. I am no longer in that position, but I am still quite wary. I have a fb account, but there is almost no personal information there. My photo is a tabby cat. If I don’t know you in real life, you get nothing much from what I put out there. Friends share their photos there so I get to see them, but I don’t put any of mine out there. I would suspect that someone like Richard who wants to keep his private life private (as it should be!) would be aware and even more wary than I am. In his position, I’d keep away from social media altogether.

  5. I prefer communicating with those near (and not-so-near) and dear to me via email.

    I cannot even imagine posting some of the stuff people put on there, but younger people in particular have often seemed oblivious to the notion some things could come back to haunt them.(When I was at the newspaper, one of the first things that was done after a person applied for a job was to look them up on Facebook. Sometimes the things discovered weren’t exactly in their favor).

    At the same time, I don’t really care for the whole feeling Big Brother is watching us that is ever increasing.

    I didn’t start using facebook much until a few months ago, and with all my internet issues of recent weeks, I haven’t been there much. I have noticed a considerable number of changes in my relatively short time there and some for the worse as far as I am concerned.

  6. People are learning the hard way with FB that nothing is really private once it’s on the web. This is true with email as well, but FB makes it so easy for strangers to get information. I opened a Facebook account in January 2006 and was promptly turned off by how invasive it was. I never closed the account, and two years later, my oldest child found it and begged me to resurrect it. She was going to be leaving home in a few months and wanted it as a way to communicate. I said yes, and she ended up adding all of my personal info (schools, work, etc.). At first I wasn’t so bugged, but it finally dawned on me when my mother got on Facebook that my identity could be taken by anyone. I have removed my school and work info but not my maiden name yet. In fact, I think I’ll do that today! What is scary is how much my kids and their friends have been willing to share. They are comfortable with being so open, but I’ve told my kids that they are leaving themselves exposed to all sorts of things, and they are learning some of that the hard way. For my oldest, she got a really dramatic lesson in how “private” your stuff is on FB. I wrote a post on that here:

    Since that picture is already out on the net and has been seen by God knows who, I’m not so worried about keeping it private. I’ve also posted pictures of my children which were already public, but other than that? I mostly refrain. Then again, I’m not sure I can keep anything private anymore.

  7. There’s an awful lot of pressure to be on FB. I finally caved when I published my first book because everyone said what a wonderful tool it is. Well obviously not for an antisocial git like me!

    I prefer twitter because it’s a lot less personal in the info it wants from you and doesn’t keep tabs on you.

    I don’t go on there very often but I’m always being asked by my close friends “Did you see my post on FB,” “did you see my pic on FB” etc. so I do miss out on a lit by not checking regularly but the only friends I have there are people i actually know in real life.

    If he (or any other shy celeb) is on there, I’m guessing they’d be even more careful about who they add as a friend (possibly just family) and they may not even post, just read other peoples. Thats what I’d do.

    His friends must be respectful of his privacy because you never see any recent “snaps” with friends or at parties, which in the twitter age is rare.

  8. Angie, my closest friend and I are “friends” on FB, but we never talk there. About all we ever do is like each others’ photos or some link we put up. I can’t see us ever having a conversation there. It doesn’t make sense to us to hold a public conversation for all to witness, and of course I wonder why would anyone care to witness it? I also wonder how many others do not communicate with close friends on FB.

  9. Cat, just saw your comment. For a business, it’s almost impossible not to be on FB. So for RA to be on FB as a celebrity makes sense. But to really have a personal page where he talks to his friends? I can’t see that. I know what you mean about some friends asking about FB posts. It’s true that some people are all over that site. I have made it plain to friends and family that I do not check my personal fb page regularly, and they have seemed to accept this. They also have found ways to let me know about events or photos another way.

  10. Friends and family can recognise my blog name. No big deal. Privacy is a myth, though we take all reasonable precautions with regard to finances etc. I have an FB site, because a family member wanted to send photos. I correspond via e-mail and only sporadically on FB. Actually, I don’t much like the telephone, either. :D Has its place, just not with telemarketers and cancelling their messages…THAT is invasion of privacy! And very tiresome.

  11. RAFrenzy, I was just making a comment on Catherine´s mention to name her friend´s FB nickname so publicly here on your blog, even if there are more FB accounts with that name. If people want to find you, they find ways to find you. For the rest, there are more sorts of readers than friends on FB, so ´friends´ as you said is a good phrase. Besides, I´m not on FB.

  12. Scary. Really scary. It is at a point now where people and governments are not evening pretending that privacy is important.

    I am on facebook because so many of my friends were on it and encouraged me. I remember being told over and over, “fb me.” or “I’m on fb, friend me.”

    I had my account hacked 3 times. I cannot for the life of me figure out why. I have nothing interesting on there and yet…..I pop in every now and then but it has been months since i have written on my wall. No way, will I ever put anything important on fb.

  13. I’m on fb & access my account most days. Some of my friends & family are on fb & some are not and I find it a great way to maintain contact with thoe who are. I joined when my daughter moved to London (I’m in Oz) a few years ago. Articles like this are a good reminder to be careful, so thanks frenz.

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