Like many other Gen Y’ers I was an early adopter of Facebook as it was almost unheard of NOT to use the social networking site during college. At that time, I had little concern about posting pictures, writing comments, even sharing my dorm room location. Needless to say I was naïve. Since then, I deleted my account and was off Facebook for a 2-year period without missing it. Then I saw businesses slowly adopting Facebook and realized the need for a corporate presence in the space. Not until 14 months ago did I start up with Facebook again as I launched the Vistage Facebook fan page. In creating the fan page, I also had to create a personal profile. This time I created a profile my way…completely private and unsearchable. Or so I thought.
Recently, Facebook changed its privacy policies internally and publicly launched “Open Graph”—a technology that adds Facebook-like feeds to several dozen websites, including CNN. For example, if you share a link to an article on CNN on your Facebook page, that information will be shared publicly on CNN’s homepage.
While this move does allow for easier sharing of content, including stories and video, it also lets you see what other people, those you know and don’t, are sharing with their networks as well as any comments they’ve made when sharing them.
Since the internal privacy changes went into effect, I’ve noticed things like pictures and aspects of my profile that I thought were invisible to all users showing up on Google searches and to everyone rather than just my internal network. This bothers me for two reasons: 1) I don’t like the idea of not knowing what is and is not publicly shared about my life despite my best efforts to keep information private and 2) I don’t want my personal life showing up in professional environments. I’ve always been a huge proponent of not sharing or posting anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see (thanks Gini Dietrich for that tip). Still, it scares me to think that anyone can find a picture of me, my location and probably information on my family just by searching me on Facebook—even though I’ve opted out of having a publicly-searchable profile.
So now I’m back to where I was 2 years ago—do I keep Facebook or delete it again? I definitely see the need and benefit in keeping Facebook for a business context. It’s a great way to gain brand exposure and connect with your clients online. But personally, now that I can’t gain a certain level of privacy within my own profile, I’m not sure I want to be a part of the social network anymore. What do you think? Will you keep Facebook or delete your account?