Social Media and More

Creating Personalities and Brands on the Web

Confused About Facebook’s Photo Sharing and Privacy Settings?

Facebook Photos - Julie SpiraIt seems that sharing photos on Facebook replaced baseball as the favorite pastime for digital enthusiasts. When Instagram came on the scene, celebrities embraced the photo-sharing site and Facebook grabbed it for $1billion.

Our love affair with Facebook started to wane with the multiple and confusing changes to their privacy settings. Even social media experts like myself had to study each change in detail to be able to explain it to my clients and to use it properly without offending others.

Then the big netiquette no-no happened. Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi posted what she thought was a private photo on Facebook, which appeared in a stranger’s tweet on Twitter. One can easily wonder how this can happen and not know the answer. Even Zuckerberg wasn’t sure why, but her public twitter engagement with @cschweitz clearly broke the rules of netiquette.

Sure when we’re upset we post before we think. Most don’t know that the Library of Congress now indexes tweets, permanently.

According to the New York Post, Zuckerberg’s older sister, Randi, complained yesterday when one of her Twitter followers publicly posted a photo of the family, including her famous brother, standing in the kitchen reacting to the company’s new Poke app.

“Not sure where you got this photo,” Randi tweeted in response @cschweitz. “I posted it only to friends on FB. You reposting it on Twitter is way uncool.”

When Garret Sloane from the New York Post called me to discuss this story that was going viral, I explained that we create a permanent digital footprint every time we post an update, photo, video, or tag people in photos, whether they appear in them or not.

I’ve always had a digital rule of thumb that when I snap a photo of someone else or a group at a party, I stop and show them the photo and ask if I can have their permission to post the photo to Facebook. If you’re automating your Facebook feed to Twitter, it’s there for the entire world-wide-web to see, even if your Facebook privacy settings are set to “friends only.”

Another rule of netiquette is to take your digital beefs privately. If you have something to say that isn’t flattering or is attacking another, send them a private message on Twitter if they’re following you. If you need to respond, do so privately and request that they follow you as well if they’re not.

“I’m just your subscriber and this was top of my newsfeed. Genuinely sorry but it came up in my feed and seemed public,” Schweitzer responded to Randi.

“Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency,” Randi admonished in a tweet after the photo was removed.

As I told the New York Post, social media is about: sharing experiences. If you post something on the Internet, it will be shared by strangers.

Unfortunately, we’re learning the lessons the hard way, especially when Facebook keeps changing the rules.

Julie Spira is a social media strategist and netiquette expert who writes about digital etiquette and intersection of love and technology.  Julie’s the author of the “The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web” and CEO of Social Media and More.

To connect with Julie, visit RulesofNetiquette.com, follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/RulesofNetiquette.

Photo Credit – maigi – Fotolia.com

The Facebook Facelift – A Review

facebooksmallMillions of people watched 60 Minutes last night to see Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg talk about the latest new look on your Facebook personal pages. Called the Facebook Facelift, I jumped on the social media bandwagon prior to the broadcast with enthusiasm on what the new site would look like.

To Update, or Not to Update

To start off with, if you haven’t updated it yet, don’t rush to the nearest computer to do so. Take some time to view other profiles to see how you like it during this transition period. As of now, I can’t push a button to revert to the profile with my preferences, not Facebook’s.

It’s All About Their Photos

Now that 24-hours has gone by, I miss the profile box where I could describe on my own, who I was and what I was about. Zuckerberg says it’s all about the photos. Sure we love exploiting our personal lives and uploading photos onto Facebook. Facebook claims that every day, 100 million photos are uploaded to their social networking site. Having tagged photos pre-selected by Facebook on the top of my page with the heads cut-off from my friends who tagged me is not that appealing. It’s like a game of mystery when you delete a photo, as you won’t know what the next picture will be from your various online photo albums. Perhaps I won’t like the new photo as much as the old one, but it’s deleted from the stream. You can’t bring it back as a featured photo.

Losing the Social in Social Networking

Gone are those wonderful hyperlinks to my personal websites, Google profile, Amazon page, Facebook business pages, and my twitter account. To “like” me or “follow” me, or anyone for that matter, will require some effort. One will have to click the info page on the left side bar under a profile photo if they really want to know more. It’s time consuming and very likely that you won’t get additional page views.

For many serial entrepreneurs like myself, I have several businesses that I run. Facebook only allows one to appear under my profile name. The previous version of Facebook listed all of them as I hand selected them to appear in the left sidebar.  If I delete one business the other will appear. I can have more than one business, but Facebook will decide which one will be displayed on my home page.

Friendship vs. Money

Although Zuckerberg says Facebook is all about friends, why is the left side bar with your friends listed significantly smaller than the right sidebar with the advertisements? I guess it’s all about money and the price of friendship. I do like that you can see your friendship history with someone easily on the top right hand side of the profile. But wait. What if you just broke up? Do you really want to see his photo in your stream? You can take the time to change the privacy settings, but when you have a falling out with someone, there’s a digital memory book that you need to uncreate, or simply just ignore.

To Poke, or Not to Poke

In the several years that I’ve been on Facebook, I haven’t poked a soul. Sure, I’ve received a few pokes. I never poke back. I was stunned to see that Poking ended up as a prime piece of real estate in the game of Facebook. At the top right you can either send a message, chat, or poke. I don’t know why Facebook is encouraging poking. Will you poke more often? I’d like to know.

I wanted to love the new Facebook. As a social media expert, I spend hours on the site every day. With any change, it will take time to get used to. One can only hope that Facebook will allow me to decide which photos best represent me on my profile and will return the box that still appears on Pages so we can truly keep the “social” in social media and invite our friends to join us on the social networking site of our choice.

At the end of the day, Facebook will continue to grow and be the giant that keeps 500 million people company, every day of the week. The 60 Minutes segment stated that Facebook’s valuation is between 35-50 billion dollars. Facebook, please give us a choice to revert back to the old profile so we can better control the information we want our digital friends to know about us.

Julie Spira is a bestselling author and relationship and social media expert. Follow her at Twitter.com/JulieSpira. Like her pages at Facebook.com/SocialMediaAndMore and Facebook.com/RulesofNetiquette


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