We (and by “we” I mean “people studying media/ PR) all know the old story: be very careful with your online image; a bad experience can ruin your chances to get your dream job. And it is very true. If I were an employer, I would not hire a person who appears drunk in the majority of pictures or who makes racist remarks on Facebook, for instance.
These are 10 things you will not find on my Facebook profile:
1. My mobile phone number – this is something private. If you want to contact me you can always send a message. Another reason is that I do not want my personal information sold to whatever company. We all know there are huge databases with telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, home addresses etc. given away for money. And that is where all that spam comes from.
2. My home address – “Haters gonna hate”. There will always be someone who does not like you. And you do not know what a sick mind can do. I have a blogger friend in Romania who is literally hated by many people because of various reasons: he writes “uncomfortable” stories, he is Jewish, he has dreadlocks etc. You can google search this guy`s address and you will find it pretty easy. I am still afraid he will be kidnapped one day. Anyway, do not post your home address. If you are not afraid of stalkers then do not do it simply because it is not information of public interest. It concerns only you, your family and your close friends.
3. Cheesy posts – “I love my honey bunny sugar pie xoxo”. I simply do not like exposing myself in public like this. I would not take serious any person posting this type of messages on Facebook.
4. Pictures showing my body more than it should. But this is personal taste. There is a difference between a photo in a swimsuit on a beach and one half naked on a night out. I do not have either.
5. Yahoo messenger ID, MSN, Skype – again, very personal information. I do not want or like spam; I do not have the nerves to deal with haters.
6. Using “check in” – I simply dislike people checking in everywhere. I used it only once. Anyway, let me tell you a very short story.
I come from a former communist country. Only twenty years ago, in Romania, there was an institution called “Security” specialized in spying people, ordinary citizens. So people were afraid to speak up when they had something to say, they were always afraid that their neighbors or their relatives were part of the Security. They lived in fear, hiding all the time because you could have been jailed even if you said something bad about the leader of the country, Nicolae Ceasescu. Looking around today, ironically, some of us are making it pretty easy for anyone to spy on them. And this time no one is making us do it. I like to think about myself as an open minded person, but when it comes to “check in” I am a bit scared. The simple fact that everyone could know where I am all the time makes me feel uncomfortable.
And, yes, another reason why I do not use “check in” is because sometimes I want to avoid certain people. I wish they avoid me as well, but they do not. So I do not need them knowing all the time where I am.
7. Twitter updates – really, I do not see the point. It may be because I do not particularly fancy Twitter. I have seen people posting the same thing on Facebook and on Twitter; having tweets turned on for Facebook as well makes your posts repetitive and annoying.
8. Various people in the “Family” list who are not really related to me – I am looking at my sister`s profile and I see there some “sisters” I do not even know. Am I adopted? No. It is just my 14 years old sister being a child. But when you are over 20 it just makes you look ridiculous.
9. Pictures with tortured animals or ill people – it makes me feel bad when I see this kind of posts. I am really sorry for beings in these situations, but the fact that I share it or not will not make their life better. And, no, Facebook does not donate money if you post pictures with babies having cancer on your wall. I am harsh, I know, but it is true.
10. Embarrassing stories about others or myself – it is logical not to post anything embarrassing about me. But I could say things about others. And, believe me, since I moved into university halls I have been experiencing a lot. But it is rude to laugh of someone else`s bad experiences. Some things should be kept only for yourself.
What information do you not share on Facebook?