Here’s a little story of what has happened to me recently on Facebook.
First a little history lesson. For a long time I had an extremely small list of friends on Facebook. I would only accept friend requests from people I really knew, like IRL friends and a few work colleagues. That was it. No Oracle people were allowed… The wife has a rule that only people she would let stay in her house are friends on Facebook. Nobody is allowed in my house, so my definition had to be a little different than that.
Some time ago I changed my stance on Facebook friends and started to accept other people, mostly assigning them to the “Restricted” list, and so it went on for some time.
Recently I tweeted that I was getting a lot of friend requests and wondered what was going on. I figured I have a lot of readers, so it’s natural people would reach out, and I didn’t think to much about it. After a while I started to get some really odd things happen, so I did a little digging and found some rather “interesting” people in my friend list. I don’t really want to say more about it than that.
The long and short of it was I decided to remove several thousand friends and I’ve returned to something close to my original policy. I’m sorry if you are a decent person and feel offended that I have unfriended you, but if I don’t really know you, that’s the way it is.
By the way, Facebook used to let you mass delete friends, but that is no longer possible. What’s more, if you delete a lot of them at once they lock certain features of your account. I had to write to Facebook to explain what I was doing and why before they would let me unfriend people again. I know it’s an automatic check for suspicious behaviour, but it would be nice if they spent more effort checking what people are saying and doing on their platform…
For quite some time I’ve had a specific policy on how I use social networks.
- Google+ : I a have regular G+ profile which is public. I post whatever takes my fancy here, including Oracle and technology stuff. Anything posted on this profile is bounced across to Twitter using ManageFlitter.
- Google+ (ORACLE-BASE.com) : I have a G+ page that is specific for Oracle and technology related links. I don’t post so much random stuff here.
- Twitter (@oraclebase) : The usual junk you get on Twitter.
- Facebook (ORACLE-BASE.com) : I have a Facebook page for the those people who prefer to follow me on Facebook. All my tweets get forwarded to this Facebook page.
In addition to those I’ve had a regular Facebook profile for a long time, but I’ve been very specific about its use. I only accept first-life friends and family. With all the other way of connecting to me, keeping one for myself didn’t seem selfish. Recently, I’ve been playing around with Facebook Groups and Facebook Lists in an attempt to allow connections to more people, but keep groups of people separated from each other. I don’t want to bore my friends with Oracle stuff and I don’t want to bore the Oracle community with tales of my crocodile wrestling.
I created some Facebook Groups and started accepting some Oracle-related people as friends and assigned them to a group called “Oracle”. I figured this was like a Google+ Circle, it’s not. For a start, everyone in the group can see everyone else in the group and they can see what the group is called, so don’t call it “People I Hate!”. 🙂 There are a variety of security options, but none of them really did what I was looking for. I pretty quickly removed the groups and wrote to everyone saying it was not a snub. I just didn’t want to be the leader of some new communities. 🙂 If you are into building communities in Facebook, groups seem like a pretty good idea. You can be a dictator, or let other people in the group join in the administration.
The next thing I tried was Facebook Lists. This is a lot more like Google+ Groups. Hover over the “Friends” section on the left hand side of the page and a “More” link appears. Click on the link and you can see all the lists you’ve already got, which include smartlinks created automatically by Facebook. You can create new lists and manage existing lists from here. When you accept a friend request, you can select the relevant list for the contact. There are some standard lists that come in handy, like “Restricted” and “Limited Profile”. If I’ve not actually met someone before, they tend to get put on one of these lists. This is not so much to hide stuff I post, but it is to provide some layer of protection to my other contacts. I don’t see why something one of my non-Oracle friends posts should be visible to someone I’ve never met. OK, that’s the price you pay for getting involved in social networks, but I don’t want it to be my fault someone else’s posts become public. When you write a status update, you can select which list it is visible to. Alternatively, you can click on the list of interest, then post the status update.
I’m still not sure if altering my policy on Facebook usage was the correct thing to do. I also reserve the right to unfriend everyone and revert to my previous policy at any time. 🙂
I just noticed my Facebook page has hit 100 likes. I’ve been keeping an eye on it over the last couple of weeks waiting to see if I can hit the mammoth heights of 100 and now I’m there. Thanks to everyone involved… 🙂
I’ve said numerous times I’m not a fan of Facebook, but in true “jumping on the bandwagon” style I’ve created an ORACLE-BASE.com Facebook Page. Big thanks for Jake from AppsLab for his post about the WPBook pluggin. It certainly saved me some time looking around.
Now all I need is 25 likes and I can get a proper URL for the page… 🙂
Update: I have my 25 likes now, but feel free to continue adding them if you want to. 🙂