Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bianca Knows Best ... and Helps a Facebooker Face Reality

Posted By on Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Dear Bianca,

My 70-plus-year-old mother-in-law has discovered Facebook and she’s asked me to be her “friend.”

I prefer to keep my Facebook circle small: only close friends, preferably in my age group. I often get tagged in pictures from crazy nights out, and I sometimes post potentially-embarrassing status updates when I’m far from sober. This isn’t a problem with my current Facebook friends, who all know me and are often hanging out with me when late-night photos are taken.

I know Facebook has privacy settings, and I can block her from seeing my page. But my mother-in-law specifically asked her 28-year-old daughter not to block her when she requested her friendship. I’m afraid she’d know if I tried to block her from certain parts of my account.

Anyway, I’m not sure if she’d be more offended if I ignored her request or if accepted it and blocked her from parts of my page? Should I ignore her request altogether and make up some excuse about I only use my account for work?

— Ms. Manners

Dear Ms. Manners,

Whether or not you choose to block your mother-in-law from parts of your Facebook page is really your call, but I’d advise against ignoring her friend request.

Facebook has truly changed over years. Though it was once a social networking site for college kids, folks of all ages have come to realize that Facebook is an invaluable tool for communication. Because of this transformation, you really have to be prepared to show your Facebook page to the world. It is on the World Wide Web, right? Even though you have the capability to block friends, wouldn’t it be easier if you didn’t have to hide from certain people.

I’m not sure what’s happening in these “late night photos” you mentioned, but as long as your clothes are on and you’re not passed out drunk on a toilet, you shouldn’t really be all that concerned. If you’re referring to shots of you with a beer in your hand or pics where you’re looking a little glassy-eyed, you can easily un-tag yourself so the photos aren’t stored on your page.

As for the drunk status updates, um, well just don’t do that. I’ve certainly posted status updates from an iPhone while at a bar, but they’ve never been terribly embarrassing. If yours are embarrassing, maybe the designated driver should hold on to your phone.

You say that you keep your Facebook circle tight, but you will eventually face this same dilemma with co-workers, bosses, or other family members. If you keep your Facebook page clean, you won’t have to worry about who sees what.

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com

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