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Greg’s Facebook Survival Guide

I started to write this up for my brother in law, and realized it would be useful for anybody being brought into the open exposure world of Facebook.

Welcome to Facebook.  The place where everybody talks about everybody else in the open, pictures of you are posted whether you like it or not, and those awkward conversations with those people you have been avoiding your entire life are now on public display.

For the modern day introvert, entering into the world of Facebook is horrible.  I have always been an introvert, and the idea of sharing what is going on at any given moment in my own life absolutely sucks.  Once you realize however that this is an audience you can control, with content that you can choose, it turns from overwhelming to empowering.

If implemented properly, Facebook is the perfect medium for delivering just enough content to the friends and family, that there will be a significant reduction in other communications.  Mom’s just want to know you are safe and that you are doing well, everybody wants to know about the children in the family, so feeding small updates regularly can satisfy all of those needs at once, on your own time.

I have two posts on Securing your Facebook information which you should review.  The premise is that you do not have to, want to, or need to share all of your information to the people on Facebook.  You should however be prepared to filter what people can or can’t see on your own profile, and setting up some “lists” can make that easier for you.  Mastering this technique will turn your Facebook experience into one of complete control.

Facebook Protection – Part 1

Facebook Protection – Part 2

Profile Setup

Setup the basics on the profile.  People can contact you on Facebook, so don’t put all of your contact information in there.  If they want to know what your cell phone number is, they can send you a Facebook message and ask.  Get the basic information in there, with some history that will help people identify you.  Get a real picture setup of YOU, realizing it is not the last picture that people will post.  Don’t get caught into my Top 10 useless Facebook Profile Pictures list.

Click Ignore

Ignore the bullshit requests for everything you will be sent.  Outside of the standard friend requests, there are 9 million (no idea if that is the number) applications out there, built into Facebook.  There is an application to track the movies you like.  There is an application to test your knowledge on cooking, and I am sure there is even an application to keep track of how many time your dog goes for a walk.  For the first few months, just click ignore.  If you feel obligated to click accept out of guilt, don’t.  The applications all seem to be designed to spam you entire friends list, so don’t take it as a personal invitation that you are turning down.  Once you have a grasp on the concepts, you can consider entering into a few applications.

Wall Posts versus Direct Messages

I am not sure why people don’t understand that a wall post is a public message to the entire Facebook audience.  Posting on a persons wall is not the ideal way to have a conversation about one topic between two people.  If you want to ask somebody something directly, send them a message by going to their profile or from your own inbox.

Notifications

Get a grasp on what you want Facebook to notify you about.  Turn it all off, then add the ones you really want to be notified about.  Otherwise you will spend the majority of the day getting notified about every little thing.

Settings > Account Settings > Notifications

Once you stop getting notified about every time somebody scratches their nose, consider lessening your impact on Facebook by removing your activities as being posted on other peoples status pages.  This is the area where if you add a friend, you really don’t need to broadcast it to everybody. I have everything disabled in here, but certainly turn something on if you want to.  I just like being able to change my settings without inadvertently telling everybody what I am doing.

Settings > Privacy Settings > News and Wall Feed > Actions within Facebook

World Audience

My final advice is to not say anything on here you would not say in public or in person, both to your friends, family, or employer.  Being politically correct is a challenge, but the harsh reality is that Facebook is a social networking site that has a broad audience.

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