In an age where there is no such thing as Internet privacy, I am struggling with whether I should make my Facebook profile public.
As a child of the Google, I tried to find an answer online.
There were very little answers there. Many of the search results discussed how to completely eliminate traces of myself on Facebook but nobody was helping me struggle with the decision to choose or not choose privacy on the social media platform I use the most.
And it’s apparently important. Forbes claims that my online presence is an extension of my resumé.
Facebook Privacy Considerations
Here are some of the issues that are coming up for me:
- I was a teacher and am now a lawyer. As a result, I’ve spent much of my life being taught that I should be extremely careful about what I put online because my future employer will make decisions based on that. But if I’m not passed out drunk in pictures or doing other inappropriate things, should all the memes that I think are hilarious still be hidden from the world?
- Is there a benefit to making my Facebook profile private if a quick screenshot by one of my “friends” can make everything I post public?
- I already have people I don’t know on my Facebook page. What is the big deal with having a couple more?
- Does it make me feel safer to publish online if I feel everyone cannot see what I post?
- Will I be forced to be more careful and aware of what I post online if it can be seen by the world?
- Will it destroy the distinction I have between “professional” me and “personal” me?
- Is that even a real distinction? I am one person who loves human rights, Manchester United, and memes. So what if people see all three when I speak online?
- Facebook already profits from users like me on their platform. Users like me who think there is privacy while they sell my information to advertisers. Would opening up my profile help me to benefit as well?
Arguments for making my Facebook profile public:
- My family and friends already see what I am doing online and love me anyway. What’s the big deal?
- My Instagram is public and nothing bad has happened because of that. *knock on wood*
- Facebook is a powerful marketplace for personal branding. I may regret not being part of that in 20 years.
- Do I honestly care that a client or employer finds me objectionable? If anything, that is a benefit since we will both decide very early on that we are not meant for each other.
Arguments against making my Facebook profile public:
- People on the Internet are sometimes awful. A public profile means all sorts of people can now comment and leave their opinions. Am I ready to receive that sort of input?
- Does personal branding mean every human should get to see all my random thoughts and feelings?
- Facebook has fairly powerful privacy controls. Why wouldn’t I use them since I don’t know what a future employer or client may find objectionable?
For the month of August, I’ve changed my Facebook profile to public to see how I feel about the visibility of my posts and how comfortable I feel letting all my thoughts hang out there.
Let me know if you would ever be comfortable doing the same.