Finally, I’ve done it. What, you say? I joined Facebook. Yes, I know, I am the last of the dinosaurs to do it. My resistance to this social media program has been worn down. Frankly, I find Facebook a bit intimidating. So many rules and privacy concerns: whom should I invite to connect with me and what groups should I join? Should I use the program for personal, professional or both readerships? Maybe I should have separate accounts for each? (I think I’ll just use it for personal for now, so don’t feel hurt if I don’t know you and ignore your request to connect with me on this platform.)
I also find Facebook fun. Friends from long ago are popping up in my feed – high school and college classmates I thought I’d never “see” again. My interest groups are sharing important tips on RVing. I am discovering recipes I just have to try. And the jokes – who can not appreciate a good laugh? I have been using other social media programs for quite awhile – LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest – but not Facebook. What was I afraid of?
Well, I have identified my huge concern. We all have heard the warnings about sharing too much on Facebook. This is particularly true when what you share can impact your professional life. Do you really want a Human Resources worker to see that joke about midgets that you posted? Or do you want your boss to see that swear word you used, even if you substituted an asterisk for one or two of the letters? I even saw a survey the other day asking readers to vote yea or nay about too much political correctness in the world – c’mon, really? (My eighth grade teacher had a saying I have chosen to live by, “Your freedom ends where my nose begins.” In other words, exercise respect.) My point of privilege here: maybe we are just sharing too much that we used to save for phone chats with our closest confidants. Is there a good reason to share absolutely everything with the world on social media, especially Facebook? Doesn’t anyone keep a journal or diary anymore?
My biggest put-offs, though, are all the rants and sharing of politics in the news. We live in politically-charged turbulent times. Most of us have very strong beliefs about what is happening in and to our country. Your right is my wrong, and vice versa. While most of us can’t really change anything or do anything but vote in the next election, we want our voices heard – even at the expense of alienating co-workers, bosses, professional colleagues, relatives, and personal friends – and social media is the route many are taking. Is it worth creating a flash-in-the-pan presence on Facebook if you hurt or disgust someone important in your life? What happened to mutual respect? Even when you believe you safeguarded your posts from prying job-related eyes, are you sure they still can’t be found?
OK, I know I can drop connections from my feed that post things offensive to me. But I don’t want to lose contact with people I have just found. And if I stay on Facebook, will I have any connections left if I drop those expounding strong political beliefs? It is my dilemma. It has been eye-opening to learn about the politics of my friends and colleagues. I even have to admit that I’ve had to pull back my finger sometimes to keep from “liking” a post aligned with my own political beliefs. So far, I’ve remained neutral and just shared family and friend photos, recipes, non-offensive jokes, RV tips, and the like. Will I stay on Facebook? Time will tell. After all, it still is a lot of fun!
Wishing you career success in 2018!