Quick tour of friends lists on Facebook, or why you shouldn’t comment or “like” public messages on Facebook

@ Pedro Hansson - Stockholm skyline
@ Pedro Hansson – Stockholm skyline – Completely out of topic

In Sweden we have an expression called “I-landsproblem”. If I should try to explain it, it’s like a problem that’s only a problem when everything else is okay. For instance, your nearest store have changed the place of the Coca-Colas, your new Ferrari only comes with 18″ wheels, or that your planned washing time at your house is occupied 5 minutes longer than you expected. They are all “i-landsproblem”.

This post will probably hit one of those marks where “i-Landsproblem” almost won’t cut it, but still I find this topic a little fascinating since it’s all apart of our new society, and about Social Media. This phenomena (Social Media) that’s not even 10 years old but everyone knows all about it… or?

This topic is about those people who are commenting or “liking” friends posts that are “public”. You know with the “Tellus-symbol” attached to it. This means that the posts that your “friend”, “colleague” or just “facebook acquaintance” have posted is “all out there” for everyone to see. (1)

So what’s the big fuzz? What’s the problem with that?

Before I explain my thoughts around this matter; let me give a short insight to all of those who might not be aware of how Facebook friend categories work. If you know all about it.. -> Skip to   “Continue here”

Everytime you post something on Facebook you will have the choice to choose who will see your message.

The main categories are:

  • Friends – Your facebook friends
  • Friends, without acquaintances – Which means all of your friends, except the ones you’ve marked as “acquaintances”
  • A friend list of your choice, which means that you put together only the people who you wan’t to distribute your message to, and the status mentioned above
  • Friends of your choice – you handpick every single one that will see the post
  • Public, which is basically a setting that will allow all people on your friend list AND everyone else who will google you in the future to see your post

Except the categories above, you can also categorize your friends in the category “limited”, which means that they will not see anyone of your posts, except the ones that are posted as “public”.

Continue here…

So, my question is, why do people click or comment, on friends “public” postings (except if the friend has a “higher” purpose of some kind like sending an important message or aiming at getting something important widely spread)? (1)

So, why shouldn’t you click on your friends public posts?

1) Your friend has maybe put you on their “limited” list, which means that you only see these posts that they’ve chosen to be public, which means that you’re maybe not so good friends after all.

2) When you click that public post, everyone of your friends, not just their friendsALL of  your friends will also see it. This will also mean that your digital foot print will be left entirely in their hands. Not in yours.

3) Except for the above; when you click a public post you will also “spam” your friends with the same message that most of them probably won’t care about, since they probably don’t know this person. Maybe not a big issue if you have 50 “friends”, but certainly if you have 500 or more.

So my tip to you “social media people”; think about where you’re putting your digital foot print, and make sure that you can control your own digital foot prints by yourself, instead of handing that choice over to somebody else who may keep it in public forever.

We’re living in a new era where we all are trying to keep up with these new media types, and I guess many of us (including myself) aren’t paying enough attention to what we are leaving as footprint forever.

So, in short, “like” and “comment” only posts that you know that you can control in the future.

A last short tip. When did you last clean your Facebook page, and made all your previous posts just visible to yourself? That’s a real good functionality within Facebook that many people don’t know about. Summer cleaning?

… and to all of you posting in public; remember that these posts will be public for your next employer, your friends friends (also in the future), the government and of course your children’s / parents friends.

(1) The information above isn’t applicable when you change profile picture or wall picture since those are (in most cases) public by default

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