The Social Media Line

I’m a fan of social media. Obviously. I have this blog you’re reading now. And I use Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn to publicize the blog.

LinkedIn is great for professional networking. I used it when I looked for a new job. I don’t read any of the Twitter feeds I follow and I don’t actually tweet anymore. Google Plus is hit or miss for me.

Facebook privacy settings can look good but are too easily flanked (Photo credit: Wikipedia)..

But Facebook, that I like. I like being able to keep up with old school friends and coworkers. It’s great to share vacation photos and random thoughts. I’m not a Facebook slut – almost every one of my 160 friends are people who I’ve met in person and would choose to meet again. And I clean up my friends lists and photos on a fairly regular basis.

Privacy is a concern though and I discovered that, although I may write a Facebook status saying I’m enjoying the West Coast sun, I don’t want you to check me in somewhere. Not a restaurant we’re at, not a trip we’re on, not a store we’re visiting and most certainly not someplace I’m not actually at.

Is it concern about someone knowing I’m not at home and robbing the place? A little, but not really. It’s about me determining what parts of my life I share with a social network.

Just because you can remove something from your Timeline doesn't mean it's not still out for the world to see, Mr. Zuckerberg  (Photo credit: Wikipedia).

My Facebook privacy settings are pretty tight. I have to approve all tags for my timeline and (until the last set of Facebook changes) photo tags of me wouldn’t show up on your photos unless I said it was okay. Now I have to take the extra step of going to your photo and actively removing it. But I don’t mind doing that.

It’s the place check-ins that I hate. Because although I can make sure they don’t appear on my timeline, they still show up in the news feed, your profile and the profile of everyone else there or who you thought it would funny to say was there.

Hey, I get it. Place check-ins are valuable for some people. Just not for me.

Honestly, my inability to control the check-in tags is almost enough to make me deactivate my Facebook account. Almost. The problem is that it’s become the best way for me to keep in touch with all but a few of my friends. We don’t need to have a boring conversation about my boring life – they can see snippets of it online. I can shoot messages to people, arrange parties, keep up to date on what my book club is doing and be reminded of people’s birthdays. It works for me.

But I’ve found the line I don’t want to cross or be dragged over. Social media can be a great tool, but don’t be a tool on social media.

Where do you stand on social media? Is there a line for you?

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