My mother once asked why I post my life and personal stuff on facebook “for the whole world to see” and I replied, “but the whole world can’t see my posts.” She is not tech savvy and I explained that Facebook can be locked to friends-only to which anyone who isn’t friended cannot see your posts. Also, there are lists you can create to add specific people to and then lock your posts to which ever list you want. My mother did not know that you could do all these things. She didn’t know that I could post something to just our family (mom, dad, sister, brother, aunts, etc) and no one else could see it. I understood her initial concern and after I explained how I manage my Facebook, she thought it was pretty cool.
I’ll try to explain how I regulate my Facebook privacy. First of all, my Facebook is locked to friends only. So anyone who isn’t friended cannot see my posts. I very RARELY make public posts (almost non-existent). If I do post it, it’s not personal and is generally pretty random (maybe a Youtube video, or funny meme). I don’t accept every random friend request. I only friend people I actually know, or people who are in communities that I am part of (like my local Steampunk community, or work community).
So, only friended users can see my posts. I consider those posts as a “public” posts. I don’t often post this way, but I try to make an appearance for those in my communities that don’t get to be part of my other lists/locks.
The next level is my “Privileged” list. Of all those friended people, I only add people I actually know, like, and trust. Most of my posts on Facebook are locked to this “Privileged” list. I post about daily life, post photos, and lots of normal social media antics. The friended users who are not on this (or other) lists don’t typically get all these goodies. They get the mostly non-personal stuff and an occasional update on my life, but I typically omit a lot.
Then there is my “VIP” list which is only my closest confidants. It’s not a big list and those are the people I can tell anything to. Sometimes, I’ll post about something to the “Privileged” group, but then post again with more details to the “VIP” group. A lot of the “VIP” (very important people) posts are about the private parties we have here or things that I just don’t feel is anyones business but mine and my closest friends.
Then there’s a “Family” list, which is obviously family only, whether I’m sharing with just my family or blocking them from seeing my less family friendly posts. And then there’s the “Work” list, which is almost exclusively for excluding coworkers from work rants.
Social Media is great. We have family and friends all over the world. It’s a great way to stay in touch, stay in each others lives, share photos and stories. Sometimes, calling long distance isn’t feasible with costs and/or time zones, so it’s nice to be able to read up on your loved ones lives. Why mass email when you can do it more efficiently with Social Media? Social Media doesn’t necessarily mean that you are sharing your personal life with the whole world. It’s all in how you choose to regulate your media, what and how you share with it.
So, slightly off topic, I was on Facebook posting about today’s vet visit and I locked it as “Privileged”. I was thinking about the fact that I keep the majority of my pet posts private to either “Privileged” or “VIP”. Even the majority of the cat photos and videos of them playing and being cute, is locked. Sometimes, I talk about my girls and lock it to “VIP”. I thought to myself, why do I do that? You’d think that pet posts wouldn’t be that sensitive.
We, my husband and I, love our girls. They are not just pets, they are family. I’m very passionate about animals and what I believe. We take very good care of them and we include them in family emergency plans and family decisions. Our home is their home too. I demand love and respect for my girls. So really, it’s an intimate topic for me and that’s why those posts are locked. Sometimes, I post photos or what not about the girls to the various levels of my Facebook, but generally they are treated as very personal to me… because they are <3