My first social media policy

Despite seriously considering deleting my Facebook profile in the past, I haven’t managed it, yet. The downsides are still just about outweighed by the way I use Facebook, i.e. very little. That’s my choice though and after a conversation in the canteen recently, I started wondering whether it was right to effectively start building up a social media profile for someone before they’ve even been born!

Despite Google’s unhelpful profile name policy, Eric Schmidt apparently commented that young people may need to disassociate themselves from a trail of embarrassment online by changing their names. I can see his point, but wouldn’t it be worse if your dad had created a Facebook profile for you?! You’d need to change your name at least twice!

So, given it’s not possible to control information on Facebook, we’ve decided to try and avoid putting anything there on behalf of the bump. Not that we’re picking on Facebook- we’ll be avoiding posting anything on the other social networking sites too. This is a bit of an experiment at the moment, along with the whole (very wide) parental minefield, so the bump’s social media policy may evolve over time. For a start it needs a better codename!

We do still want to annoy at least a few people with news and photos when bump’s big day finally arrives though, so we’ll be sending out announcements via ‘old fashioned’ electronic mail and Short Message Service. (And there will definitely not be any live blogging!)



I’ve been considering closing my Facebook account for a while now, and after chatting to a few people about antisocial software at the weekend I’ve started to wonder whether to actually do it. Ironically I was talking about leaving Facebook at a party organised on Facebook, and I think the event organising bit is the feature I would miss the most.

So, how do you leave Facebook? Aside from the technicalities of finding a delete option that is, and confirming a few times that yes I really do want to delete. I still value the connections I’ve made, or rediscovered, through Facebook, so to start with there’ll be some exercise in pulling out all the good eggs and keeping track of them some other way.

Photo © themonnie cc by-sa 2.0

Finding alternatives is partly what’s pushing me to make the jump. 2011 is my year of paper, so that’s one option, but not an especially interesting one. Another is to continue to add business contacts to LinkedIn; I already started to counter work related Facebook requests with a LinkedIn invite. That is just moving from one walled garden to another though and, while the new garden may have less annoying farm animals in, it would be nice to leave the silos behind. I wonder if the semantic web can come to the rescue.

Then there’s a choice of which exit to use. A few alternatives I can think of:

  • Don’t look directly at it – stop logging in but leave everything there. Perhaps a bit to tempting too pop back in now and then, which isn’t that different to my current use of Facebook.
  • Just jump and hope the parachute opens – delete my account (if that’s possible!) without any warning. It doesn’t seem quite right to cut and run that suddenly, and there’s a chance I could lose touch with a few people.
  • Invite people to a ‘goodbye’ event – could even make it a real event in a pub, which would be a bonus!
  • Delete everything on the profile but leave it there – just in case…
  • Create a page/group instead – i.e. leave some place holder behind, with a signpost to this blog etc

What are the disadvantages of leaving Facebook though? I don’t want to be too hasty. It is good to hear how people are doing, but I do wonder whether I’ve been worse at keeping in touch with friends properly as a result of being able to take a quick look online instead. I have an idea that at least some of the pull for staying is just the thought that you might be missing out in some way. (In most respects I think that’s just an illusion.) Having said that, Facebook events are quite a nice way to organise get togethers…

Decisions, decisions. Should I stay, or should I go?

Update: ten more good reasons to leave, but the chances are I’ll still be using Facebook this time next year! (28 December 2012)