The Problem with Facebook

Posted by – September 30, 2009

I meet a lot of lovely people as a result of writing two books, and I meet them via email, online, on social networking sites.

Recently on FB, I decided to restrict who I friended to people I’d met, people who I knew pretty well, people I’d worked with, went to school with, taught… you get the idea.

Some people have been upset that I de-friended them, & I’m very sorry they are.

Mostly I was tyring to protect my friend & family who often got friend requests from total strangers who “collect” friend on FB – usually for the sake of marketing something. Then someone told me about this ACLU quiz about FB’s Privacy Policy – or lack thereof – which everyone who uses FB should take.

I did make a point of asking people to move to my more public page on FB so that I could cut down on the spam, but left messaging available to anyone & everyone.

Honestly, I was about *this close* to eliminating my personal page altogether but decided to try out this compromise first. Sadly, I offended people who I didn’t mean to offend even for a second.

Apologies: navigating private & public is no easy task and surely requires someone far more graceful than me.

5 Comments on The Problem with Facebook

  1. AlissiaRose says:

    Stop apologizing!! You answer to none but yourself. I can’t reiterate this enough. I work with kids who have spent too much time in the public eye. There comes a time where they don’t want or can’t be the public personna. They need time and space to be themselves. Same holds true for adults. You give tons of yourself. If you want to keep your sanity you need to keep something for yourself.

    Someone reminded me that the trans and there partners get to a point finally where they realize they’ve accomplished what they’d set out to do. No more major battles. Time to have a life. But many have been so focused on the journey that they are never prepared to just be and live life.

    Give as you want or need to, but don’t apologize for being human and needing a life outside of the public eye.

    Say hi to Andrea, and I’ll do the same when I see her tomorrow night.

    Be well and safe.

    Alissia

  2. Véronique says:

    I’m not a celeb, but I’m trying to do the same with my own Facebook friend list, although it’s slow going. Like you, I don’t want to offend anyone, but I really would like my list to be made up of people I actually know in some way. Some make it easier, because they post the same thing on Twitter as they do on Facebook, so they can be trimmed from FB.

  3. caprice says:

    I find that hiding people’s status updates from my FB home page usually suffices. I’ve hidden lots of them, maybe 25% of my total. A great many are people I added as “friends” in my early days on FB, when I’d add almost anyone who didn’t seem really obnoxious, regardless if I actually knew them. Most of these are people whose only thing in common with me is that we’re both trans, or we’re both LGBT politically active NYers.

    This, plus FB’s feature of allowing us to block quizzes, etc. from appearing has really cut down on my home page clutter.

  4. Véronique says:

    @Caprice: Hiding someone’s status updates is usually the first step for me. If I find I’m just not interested in what they post, or I have no clue what it’s about (because I don’t really know the person), I hide their updates. Then later, if I haven’t missed those updates, I trim them off the list.

  5. steveD says:

    Hi Helen,

    As one of those folks taken off your personal FB account, I think its totally cool that you’ve done that- as you say we’ve not met in person (me being from the UK), but even if we had that should still be alright for those people who love your writing and are inspired by your journey.

Leave a Reply