Despite the fact that I put some seemingly very private things about my life out onto the great wide interweb for all to read, I do enjoy some privacy. I am usually in the camp that thinks people who raise privacy concerns about things like Facebook are being kind of idiotic. Everything about Facebook is self-regulated. You don't even have to have a Facebook account, and plenty of people don't. Even if you HAVE one, there are tons of ways to control your privacy, and if you can't figure out how to use them, maybe you shouldn't have a Facebook account.
Still, I've had some thoughts on privacy lately. First of all, unlike a lot of my friends I have a bunch of family members as Facebook friends. This means being on good behavior always...not a problem--I generally am on good behavior. But that doesn't necessarily mean I want everyone I've seen fit to friend on Facebook to know everything last about me. After all, me and plenty of people I know have somewhat "inappropriate" senses of humor at times, which certainly comes out now and then on Facebook. And while there are plenty of ways to limit who sees what, I'd rather not have to censor. I'd rather only have "friends" whom I actually consider friends, and who shouldn't be judging me anyway. Similarly I'd also rather only do things I'm comfortable with everyone knowing.
Today's New Activity: Facebook Cleanse
First of all, I did change a few privacy settings, but that mostly had to do with long-ago-created photo albums. What seemed more appealing to me, today, was to start taking a hard look at whom I call my "friends."
Now...I really love Facebook. I do. I love that I can be in contact with long lost friends and do some catching up. But I hate that its simple existence has made the concept of friendship seem so complicated and confusing. For a long time I've been wanting to do some friend list editing, but I didn't start because I was concerned I'd have a hard time discerning what a friend was.
This didn't used to be an issue.
I decided I would start with the easy stuff today. Anybody among my friends whom I knew from high school but hadn't spoken to since (or since first adding as a friend) would be gone. What is the point of just collecting people? I admit I was curious, when my FB account was in its nascent stage, to see pictures of people from high school all grown up. But once that initial thrill was gone I was hard pressed to come up with a reason to keep this collection of FORMER friends around.
For a long time I've been contemplating the idea of past. It used to be that the people we knew in our past were just that. We didn't have the option of revisiting and regurgitating that past in some kind of new, oddball incarnation. We just had our memories and the lessons we learned from those events.
People who are now in high school will NEVER know what it is to be curious about an old high school flame or to think about people from their past as people from their past. They'll just keep 'em around for the next 80 years, just part of the collection.
All that said, I'm grateful for the reconnecting that has led to actual, sustained reconnection. There are some people I'm very happy to have back in my life and with whom I truly enjoy communicating.
But it was definitely time for some editing. The high school distinction made this initial round easy, and even during that I came across some non-high school "friends" who were obvious candidates for deletion, so I made those executive decisions. And some further revisiting is in order. It would be nice to get to a point where privacy concerns aren't even an issue because anybody I know on Facebook knows the real me, up close and personally (even if from far away, paradoxical as that may seem) anyway.