God bless technology! Never before have so many people had the power to so thoroughly upset so many of their friends and relatives so very quickly! Just like the advent of cell phones has forever changed the dynamics of dating and marriage, FaceBook has made the navigation of all relationships just that much more difficult.
Case in point: You are at your child’s birthday party happily snapping pictures of presents being opened and kids with cake on their faces. You MIGHT think it is totally innocent to then post a few of those on your FaceBook page. That is until some of the other mothers send you angry messages about not having permission to use their children’s likenesses.
Likenesses? That used to be the exclusive territory of public figures: politicians, educators, entertainers. Now we ALL have to guard our images from use and misuse. Short of having a pile of release forms on hand every time you whip out your camera or cell phone, what should you do?
Another case in point: Some relative you never really liked starts posting snarky comments about you on his page. You fire back with angry rebuttals and counter accusations. Pretty soon people you both know are being dropped and blocked even though they had nothing to do with the original argument. And they’re mad at you! So you should just let someone spread vicious lies about you without fighting back?
A final case in point: You gratefully reconnect with a long-lost friend or relative and start up a friendly correspondence. Unbeknownst to you, this friend/relative has given everyone on his page access to your comments and profile. Pretty soon your boss is hauling you into the office to ask about these pictures of you with the stripper at your friend’s bachelor party. And you never even knew those pictures existed!
Enough already! The one, unbreakable, overarching rule about the internet is this: IT IS NOT PRIVATE! No matter WHAT you do with your privacy controls, there are always ways to get around them. No matter HOW careful you are with your posts, someone else can make you look like a fool with what THEY post. So waddaya do?
First, be careful with what YOU post. If other people are in the picture, ask their permission before posting it. If someone posts a picture of you and you have a problem with it, contact him as soon as possible and ask him nicely, but firmly to take it down. Check your sites frequently to make sure what is being posted about you. And if it all stops being fun, you can just drop out. Just because there IS a FaceBook, doesn’t mean you have to be on it.