Another blog entry driven by a user request. This discussion topic evolved from conversations at a local networking group, where questions/concerns over using a personal Facebook account.

For those that don’t use Facebook, it is not uncommon to hear comments along the lines of:

  • Why are you sharing so much information on the internet
  • I really don’t want to be connected to some people
  • What if somebody participates in discussions and says things I don’t like
  • I have read some articles about privacy problems

So lets dig in and see how you can Keep Pace with Facebook !

The 21st Century Water Cooler

In a sense, Facebook could be considered the modern age water-cooler.    In times past it was not uncommon for individuals to establish relationships outside of the home (such as work) and then share information such as:

  • Personal issues (spousal or money problems)
  • Family events (parties / vacations)
  • Current Events (news stories, politics)
  • Jokes / Cartoons

What you didn’t have was a permanent record of who said what.   Facebook is in a sense that water cooler, but it involves a larger audience and it keeps a history of what was said (and who said what !) .    Taking this a step further, you don’t know who you are going to accept as a friend into your network , so you should consider evolving a set of personal “rules of engagement” that you leverage whenever you interact on Facebook (or any other social network)

Establishing your personal “rules of engagement” for Facebook

It doesn’t matter if you are a new or existing Facebook member, you should consider evolving your own approach when using Facebook (or any other Social Media service).    While no hard and fast rules exist, here are some  suggested guidelines to start with:

  • Guideline #1 – Determine what you want to accomplish with your Facebook account
  • Guideline #2- YOU are always in control of the content on your Facebook page
  • Guideline #3 – Effective use of Facebook is all about PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
  • Guideline #4 – You need to think about who your “friends” are today and in the future.

These guideline get you thinking about what you want to do with your Facebook account and what you are trying to accomplish.    How you answer these questions will form the basis for how you approach each of the following activities

  • The comments you write and the pictures/links you share
  • The Facebook applications that can write to your page/history
  • The scope of who you allow to see your comments/links/photos/profile
  • Who you friend and who you keep as friends
  • The content you allow to remain on your wall

Now lets delve a little deeper into each of these activities, and consider some other guidelines to apply

The content YOU generate

The first step is to consider the types of content that you would generate for your account, which consist of:

1.  Comments

When you decide to put a status on your Facebook wall, you are limited to 420 spaces in which to express yourself. While at times the 420 spaces may not seem like a lot, it sure is enough room to get yourself in trouble quickly.

Keeping in mind your answers to the guidelines above as they will help guide you in your message.   Specific to the content WITHIN the message, some additional guidelines to consider

Some basic things to remember ..

  • Guideline #5  – Don’t use curse words – its really not part of any image you want to foster.
  • Guideline #6  – If you get involved with conversations, attack ideas –  not people.

2.  Links you share

The links you share (such as a Web article, a Youtube video, etc) could possibly come back to haunt you.   For example, if you have a number of family members that are your friends (including small nieces or nephews) you need to make sure your content doesn’t offend them

  • Guideline #7  – Make sure your LINKS are age appropriate for the all members of your friends list

3.  Photos YOU upload

Remember all of your friends will be able to see photos you upload.   So you should use the same level of consideration that you use for links

And when it comes to storing your photos, there are a number of sites that are focused on storing your photos so that you can control who has access to them, so using Facebook to store all of your photos might not be the best choice.

I hope you enjoyed this entry – to “Keep Pace” with future entries