It seems like everyone I know has a Facebook account these days. I remember when the social networking site wasn’t as popular as Myspace. I was first drawn to Facebook because of the ability to create photo albums instead of just 8 or so pictures like Myspace.
Then one day, Facebook started the status update. It used to be you’d list what you were literally doing. “Bdubs is at work” or “Bdubs is at the library”. Now the typical Facebook status is what people are thinking at any given moment. Sometimes updates are downright personal and it comes as a shock that they are on Facebook.
I have a friend who updated her status throughout her entire labor, having her husband take over at the end. I felt that was a bit too much information. Is this a glimpse of the future as we know it? Will we no longer receive telephone calls with great news such as engagements, pregnancies or new jobs? Instead we will just scroll through our Facebook pages and read each other’s updates. At times I can see this as being a great way of getting information out to all of your friends and loved ones at once, but are we also losing personal connections?
Going back to the friend who went through labor on Facebook, it was a little disappointing when we finally talked in person. I felt like I’d read the last page of a good book and spoiled the ending. I already knew the whole story and I didn’t get to hear about it in person. At the same time, through those updates I did feel like I was there in the hospital room with her, which is a pretty exciting feeling. So I think personal preference plays a big role here. If you want all of your friends to know something exciting in your life, status updates are the perfect place to share that information.
Now let’s talk about family members who may read your updates. You may forget they are your Facebook friends when you go to update your status. Let’s say you had a really rough day and you write a really nasty status update complaining about your job and you include a swear word. Maybe that’s not something you want your Mother or Grandmother to read. The good news is there are privacy settings for Facebook updates, that allow users to guard who can and cannot see their status updates. You can create groups and lump all of your family into one, your coworkers into another and so on. This handy feature allows you to vent away about work without the fear that your coworker will blab it to your boss. This also protects poor Aunt Mildred from reading your foul language.
My advice to all Facebook users out there is to really think before you post your status updates. Do share your thoughts and use Facebook as the social networking tool that it is. Just be sure you’re also aware of who is reading those updates and update your privacy settings accordingly. Also, maybe for that really big piece of exciting news, the kind that come along just once or a few times in a lifetime, maybe those you save for a phone call or in person chat. And to all of my Facebook friends who talk about their bowel movements on their status updates: yes, it really is too much information.