This blog entry could’ve also been named, “my FB rules of engagement”. I write this because I think I am not the usual Facebook user. I do not play Farmville, Mafia Wars or Farkle. I do not answer 21 questions about my friends, or read the answers that they post.
You might ask, “why?”
Well, part of it has to do with my computer background, and specifically my understanding of computer security. I don’t “allow” a bunch of applications in Facebook, because I know what information can be shared about me and my friends when I do. So, I just don’t do it. I have a few applications that I use, and most of those have been authored by Facebook itself.
That was Rule #1. No unnecessary applications. I also block most applications from appearing on my news feed, which is a wonderful thing. My news feed isn’t littered with everyone’s scores on Farkle, or requests to send me a new cow. I get to see what I want to see on Facebook — more of that later on. :)
Rule #2. No chain letters. It seems like every day I see someone post something about “bla bla bla, bla bla blah, and only 12% of you will repost this…”, or “please repost this or you will feel bad”. I have drawn a line here — I don’t repost things on Facebook. I’d really like all of my posts to be something original from me. So, I treat it just like I would treat a chain letter I receive in the mail. It doesn’t go on. Much in the same way, I don’t “Reply All” to things that I receive in e-mail.
Rule #3. No location stuff. Growing up, my Mom and Dad told me not to tell everyone that we were leaving town for vacation. That way someone wouldn’t take advantage of that knowledge, and rob the house while were gone (or something worse). So, I’ve also applied that lesson to Facebook. When we’re gone for the weekend, I don’t say “Looking forward to getting out of town this weekend.”. When we get back, I’ll say something about “Enjoyed a weekend away.” There are many reasons to do this, and to train your kids to do this, too. Enough said.
Rule #4. No X-Girlfriends. This has been more of an agreement between my wife and I. Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends, but there are some old friends that you probably shouldn’t connect with. Get my drift? So, in an effort to keep our FB friends on the up and up, we don’t friend people that used to be “more than friends”.
So, how do I use Facebook?
Facebook, for me, is a great way to stay in touch with people that you normally wouldn’t. I have a lot of my high school classmates, as well as extended family on my friend list. I liken it to a pulse. You may not call this person, mail them a letter or even send an e-mail. But, every once in a while you get a status update (a pulse) from them, keeping you in touch with what is going on in that person’s life. That is what I like about Facebook. A tool to help you stay in touch.