Home > Daily Prompt > Facebook – Friend or Foe?

Facebook – Friend or Foe?

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap – Facebook – to poke or to puke?

So this Facebook thing – a force for good, or an insidious evil? A social network – some may say the social network – in a world in which the inhabitants are increasingly obsessed with sharing every detail of their lives and of course with revelling in the thrills and mishaps of others.

Let’s break it down.

Responsibility – at the end of the day, what I post is down to me

Make no mistake, whether I intend the whole world to read what I write or it’s only intended for “friends”, what I post on any social network, including Facebook, is my responsibility. No-one else’s.

In the heat of the moment it’s easy to post something I may later regret. I rarely post to Facebook using my phone (which is always nearby) – my big clumsy fingers are not phone-friendly. I often find that by the time I’ve fired up the laptop I’ve gone off the boil. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to post that after all?

How many people have found themselves in trouble for posting something “inappropriate”?

An expectation of privacy. Really?

Do we have any expectation of privacy when posting to Facebook? Personally, I don’t. My posts (largely publicising my WordPress posts, to be fair) are set to be visible to “friends” only. In my case, all my Facebook friends are people I know, or knew, in real life.

However, I’m posting to a nameless server somewhere thousands of miles away. I’m putting my information in the hands of the administrators of those servers. Will I spend hours complaining about my job and calling my boss every name under the sun and be absolutely certain the boss will never find out? Could a programming error or hack make my comments temporarily public some day?

Will one of my Facebook friends suddenly turn on me (nooooo)!

I try not to post anything I can’t afford the whole world to know – some common sense is required!

(Of course, the only way to stay off the digital radar completely is to live in a bunker in the middle of the desert surrounded by bottled water and tins of Spam.)

Facebook’s Privacy settings have long been the target of much controversy and bad feeling, and in my opinion correctly so. I lock things down as much as possible but I don’t trust it to keep my private thoughts private forever.

Considering the future

It’s so easy to post hilarious mishaps now without considering future implications. The minimum age required to hold a Facebook account is thirteen. You’re still at school. Something posted now could come back to haunt you later on – at thirteen years old there’s a lot of future to ruin.

Endless posts about getting drunk and smoking pot in the school toilets lose their laughter appeal when they come to light right after you’ve just finished law school and you’re studying for the bar exam.

Hey, this is all a bit doom and gloom. What about the positives?

Reading this through, I realise that it’s pretty negative. That’s not like me! Am I dead against Facebook?

Not at all.

I think it’s great. I’ve caught up with old friends through Facebook. I can see what people are up to no matter how far away they are. How amazing is that? I can “like” the pictures of their kids, or their latest holiday. I hope that makes them happy – I certainly love it when someone likes what I’ve been up to!

Facebook provides a forum for our thoughts, a place where we can share things about ourselves with others.

I know the risks and I’m willing to take the chance. I use it sparingly. I stay away from the games. It’s a place to keep up with the exploits of my friends, some of whom are far away.

Facebook is like fire

It’s a tool.

It’s useful.

You can use it for good or evil – it’s your choice.

Treat it with care and respect or you might get burnt.

I’d include an impressive picture of the Facebook logo here wreathed in flames, but unfortunately my Photoshop skills are not up to the task!

Do I practise what I preach? Well, I’m reasonably careful but…

  1. July 2, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with FB!


    • July 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      After having scanned a few of the contributions, I think this is very much the consensus!


  2. July 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I shut mine down 😉 for most of the above reasons. I also deleted it all first. Not sure how deleted it actually is but I’m less impressed with it than I initially was :-/


    • July 2, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      It’s working for me at the moment, but if I get my fingers burned I may well follow your lead! We shall see…
      I think it started quite innocently all those years ago but has become more invasive as time has gone by.


  3. July 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Why photshop when you can doodle 😉 I neither love or hate Facebook. Just like I neither love or hat e-mail. To me they are both the same. One being with more pictures.

    What I like about facebook are pages with witty quotes or news about gadgets etc. It functions like a micro news site. I totally support a mnimum age for facbook/internet.. when you read about all those bullied teens that commited suicide over Facbook taunts it’s really an indication that some young people should maybe wait a little before they drive on the fast lanes of the internet.


    • July 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Yes, I’m pretty much of the opinion that 13 is a little young. People need to learn responsibility at such a young age these days.


  4. July 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    blah… typo’s.. I hatez them 😦


  5. July 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I enjoyed your point of view on Facebook, it really is true, the experience of Facebook all depends on the user, good or bad, we will all have a different perspective.


    • July 3, 2013 at 6:19 am

      There are people who hate it with a passion and people whose life revolves around it. As usual, I’m sitting on the fence – it’s there and I use it!


  6. July 3, 2013 at 1:22 am

    I dont have much use for Facebook today. It was fun to find high school friends until I I friended them. My sons asked me if I had seen their photos on FB, I replied I didn’t do FB. So I set it up and felt lucky to have sons that wanted me to know what they were doing.
    Then I saw a video of a son riding a small motorcycle down a embankment onto a large wooden ramp and into a lake. It was good, had a helmet and life jacket on.
    The other son posted a pic of him skiing in Japan, really, I didn’t know he was there.
    A third son wrote that he was released from a Tijuana jail in 12 hours. He was pleased. I am still struggling with that entire weekend of his.
    As a parent I have learned I do not want to know all things my boys are doing. To much information. So when my boys are all stateside again my FB will be shut down.


    • July 3, 2013 at 6:21 am

      Wow, I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I logged into Facebook and saw my family getting up to stuff like that thousands of miles away!


  7. July 3, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Oops, small dirt bike, no motor.
    Friend or Foe, neither, just unwanted.


    • July 3, 2013 at 6:22 am

      That’s a relief – I had visions of him shooting into the lake at 80mph on a Harley!


  8. July 3, 2013 at 4:57 am

    300 of my old grade school and high school friends found me on FB on my first week on it, and that’s 298 of people I barely know. But at least I have friends with whom I know better now than to attend “reunions” with because they post all the pictures of me not posing with my good side to the camera. Just when I was thinking of deleting my profile, my aunts are now finally on FB and it’s fun to see all the fun they’re having that I’m not having – so for now, my account is still up.

    At least I can continue to share funny cat pictures and the latest adventures of Hannibal – whether they like it or not.


    • July 3, 2013 at 6:25 am

      Ooh, funny cat pictures. I love funny cat pictures (who doesn’t) 🙂
      I have 25 friends on my Facebook. That’s a sensible enough number for me I think!


      • July 3, 2013 at 6:31 am

        I agree about the cat pictures, and as for friends, a baker’s dozen is good enough for me 🙂


  9. July 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I love blogging as you have time to think through your posts, check out facts and structure your post before you publish. My concern about Facebook is that it can often be too immediate and if you are not careful can leave embarrassing posts that can come back to haunt you 🙂



    • July 4, 2013 at 6:17 am

      Very true – especially if you drag your phone out and post to Facebook using that. You could post within seconds (possibly while drunk down the pub) – hardly enough time to really think about what you’re writing!


  10. July 5, 2013 at 2:17 am

    This is a great post, I’m always interested in this topic.
    My husband and I aren’t on Facebook. He never was and I deleted my account…maybe 4 years ago? I don’t quite remember. I deleted everything prior to doing so, and for me it was cathartic.
    It just felt so fake. All of the contact I had with people (even close friends) felt so contrived, and to me it became wayyyy more about the external than about genuinely connecting.
    So, in my case, it was best to move on. That was a bit scary to do, at first, kind of like you’re walking away from a giant party that everyone’s at. But almost immediately I felt freedom from not having to engage in a way that I truly hated.
    To each their own, I agree with everything you say about being responsible about what we post. I think that’s so important nowadays. Especially, as you mention, for the young teens who aren’t quite aware of the consequences just yet.


    • July 5, 2013 at 6:16 am

      To be honest I don’t have that much interaction with Facebook myself. My posts are publicised on there but if Facebook suddenly went down I probably wouldn’t even notice for a week or two!
      I’m mainly a reader – I like to see what some of my far-away friends are up to, and how their families are growing up and so on, but I think in the last couple of years I’ve only “manually” posted once on my own wall.
      I know how you feel when you say you felt “freedom” after you closed your account. Sometimes I get feel (about other things) that I’m being stifled, a bit like mental claustrophobia, and I know it’s time to stop whatever it is. I haven’t felt like that about Facebook yet, probably due to the scarcity of my interaction with it. If I ever do, then it will be time for me to stop.
      Thanks for commenting!


  11. Kat
    July 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Completely agree! What is really a pet peeve to me is the constant update part. Hey, I’m at the grocery store, at the mall, driving home from work…REALLY? Is that necessary? LOL. I’m always giving hubby grief about that. 🙂


    • July 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Yes, it can be well over the top sometimes. It’s not really necessary to let everyone know the moment you change location!
      And then it’s so and so added a link, someone else changed their status – aargh!


  12. gentlestitches
    March 24, 2014 at 1:13 am

    I like this Mr Drailman. I shall read it to the children in my life.


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