What goes on Facebook, stays on Facebook.

Love and Relationships, Personal Blog, The people you meet online Add comments

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When you post something Facebook, do you spare a thought for who may end up reading your status update?

Most of us have encountered a Facebook friend who shares too much information. Break-up drama, anger, sadness, depression, even stories of drug addiction, incarceration and child abuse. Much of the content posted is attention seeking or passive aggressive, all aimed at getting the desired reaction from significant people. But what is the long term damage caused by this kind of behaviour?

The biggest problem is that deleting something doesn’t mean its gone. Anyone who has access to your social network page can take screenshots of your posts and keep them indefinitely. Then we have sites that will trawl back and allow us to look at how a certain page looked at a specific date in the past, not to mention the people who read it all and make a mental note that you love to air your dirty laundry in public.

Offloading your drama on Facebook today can create enormous problems in your future. Potential employers often check Facebook. Met someone new? Gave them your number? If its linked to your Facebook account they can find your profile and if your profile is public (as an alarming amount appear to be), they can see everything you have posted. So that person you met a few days ago who seemed really keen but never called? They might have looked at your Facebook page and decided not to bother.

Posts obsessing over your ex, your depression, disputes with family and neighbours, financial issues make you look high maintenance at best – mentally unstable and lacking integrity at worst.

It seems that everyone communicates and keeps in touch via social networking and there is no need to close it down. Just be mindful. Before you share something ask yourself if you would be comfortable posting the same information in the local grocery store. How about printing it all on flyers and putting it through every door within a 1 mile radius of your house, or sending it to the inbox of everyone you work with. Imagine collecting your child from school and realising that every other parent there has read your status, not to mention the teachers!

You can lock Facebook down so that only your friends can see what you post and you can also choose which of those friends see specific things. If you need to share something highly personal and it can’t be done via phone or email then use the private message feature. The chances are that the people who really care about you are the ones you can talk to face to face or by phone and the ones who will only know what is going on via Facebook are casual acquaintances.

There are generally two kinds of people on Facebook who behave in this way. The first kind are the ones who have not stopped to think about the consequences. They are often older, not very computer savvy and unaware of the dangers. If that applies to someone you know, please offer some guidance.

The other kind are attention seekers who love drama and think that other people are actually interested. They usually need to suffer the consequences of their actions before they learn – often the hard way!

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