In our hectic, public social lives, there’s always Facebook, a gated community where you can let it all hang out with your friends. What you say or show on Facebook is safe from those outside forces that might otherwise ruin the experience: your parents, your students, your ex, and yes, search engines.
But Facebook is rapidly becoming more public. It’s important that you understand how public your data on Facebook has become under new privacy settings. One of these days, your Facebook session will be interrupted with a request to update to the new privacy settings.
When you go through the new privacy screen, you’ll notice that the “recommended” settings are more public than before. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a nice post on the subject.
I recommend you don’t take the default, more public options. For now, keep your data more private. In the next few days, think about what Facebook says about who you are. Go through some photo albums and some old posts. Upon reflection, you may be fine with the new settings. But remember: at the end of the public road lies Google.
Your Facebook posts are ephemeral, like bubbles. You blow them, they float beautifully, then they pop and are gone. But as public data, they’re more like a tattoo. Do you want Google to permanantly attach them to your public persona?
It’s a big question.