A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was talking about ditching Facebook. You hear it a lot when Facebook decides to 'fix' things. People don't like change and Facebook has a way of making things more difficult, rather than easier, with their fixes. And privacy is always an issue so you'll see people start griping about Facebook when they alter their 'privacy' policy. And most people's concerns are valid - Facebook is a perfect portal for accessing your personal information...IF you put it out there.

So when another friend of mine started talking about ditching Facebook recently, I put my thoughts on paper and here's what I came up with:

Facebook is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a tool, much like a hammer. The hammer can be quite useful, if used in the correct capacity - namely to pound nails into something (or to pry them out, should that be necessary). However, if the hammer is used incorrectly, it can cause pain. Try smacking your thumb (as opposed to the nail you're trying to drive) and you'll get my meaning.

Facebook is a great tool for staying in touch with people you would not normally stay in touch with. Used properly, it allows you to keep up with family and friends that live thousands of miles (or, depending on how ridiculously busy your life is, your friend that lives just a few miles away yet you can't find 30 minutes in your week to call or visit...sigh) away - friends and family that would otherwise be relegated to Christmas cards and the occasional school photo of the kids. For those of us in the military, it is a priceless tool on many levels.

Used incorrectly, Facebook is a nightmare of drama, headache, and stress. Thankfully there are settings that will allow you to tailor what you see in your news feed, who you are friends with, and whether people can post to your wall. Make use of them. If you don't want to see my latest political opinion piece, no need to leave Facebook completely - just 'hide' me in your newsfeed (I"m not saying I"m the problem - just using myself as an example). If you don't want me (or anyone else) posting random crap to your wall, then go into your settings and disallow posting to your wall. If I play too many arcade games and apps and you're tired of wading through that crap in your news feed, click the little drop-down arrow thingy and 'hide' the apps as they come up.

You can make FB work FOR you as opposed to against you - it takes just a few minutes. And for those that have issues with the OPSEC/PERSEC stuff, no one says you have to be completely honest and forthcoming with the details of what you're up to and when. For instance, my kids were taking hockey lessons and I like to post pictures of things like that for family (and for their friends that miss them) but who's to say that the lessons were taking place at the time I posted them? I may post something about J being gone for training but who's to say that he wasn't gone LAST month and I'm just now posting about it? I can put out purposeful disinformation just like Uncle Sam...

I love Facebook for what it is - a way to stay in touch with friends and family that I cannot speak to in person. That's all that it is and there is no other platform out there right now that does what Facebook does. You can make it work FOR you or you can LET it work against you. Your choice.


- hfs


Crista said...

But people would rather complain about it than figure out how to make it work FOR them. Seems to be a common problem these days. blah

Pogue said...

I guess I'm just too old to appreciate it... I tried Facebook for a while a few years ago and it really didn't do anything for me, so I quit using it (you apparently can't actually delete your account, you can only go inactive. Unless they've changed that.) From a security standpoint all they need to do is default a new account to have security features turned on instead of having everything wide open. A lot of the privacy horror stories could be avoided that way.

Oh Hell said...

I have found, if you don't like something on FB and you can't figure out how to change it, just ask!! There are almost always people who know how to do these things and they are happy to help.

Teresa said...

As with everything, moderation is the key. I think you hit all the high points. I know people who have left fb. I'm okay with that. I personally like to keep in touch with many of my friends who have moved to that venue. I'm not afraid of it nor do I allow it to take all my time nor do I tell fb everything.

I think Crista is pretty close to the answer. People tend to jump in odd directions rather than trying to figure out how to make things work for them.

Very much the same sort of thing we used to see back when blogs were the thing to be doing. :-).


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