Having a viral video is kind of like regular life except also like it’s your birthday. On Facebook your friends are writing really nice things about you when sharing your cool video. You get tons of email. And your girlfriend buys you something cute for each milestone. We had lattes for our one millionth view and I got flowers when it hit two million. Birthday treatment. (I always worked to femmifest a loving and supportive partner and I totally have one now. Visioning works!)
I have noticed in the last few months that some of my friends have been posting to Facebook and unknowingly making those posts public. I have wondered if those friends realized it, when I see the little globe icon next to their status. I don’t want to assume people don’t know what they’re doing in terms of privacy settings, so often I don’t reach out to ask. But sometimes it’s pretty obvious they intend a post to be “friends-only” and it’s really posting so the whole wide world can see. It’s happened about a half a dozen times that the person didn’t know it was public and either had a social catastrophe or just a long period of stepping back in time manually changing the settings on a bunch of statuses themselves.
This post is a friendly heads-up to folks to check their default settings on Facebook and be wary of what they are putting on the internet intentionally public. Sure, this is going to be “duh” to some people, but if it saves a few of you from social catastrophe, I think that’s all the better.
If a post is friends-only, the little icon next to the time stamp on the status has a couple of stick figure heads on it.
If anyone knows of a campground I should look at within a couple hours of NYC, preferably also outside of Philly, let me know.
My personal Facebook account is intentionally friends-only. I sometimes crowd-source support, like when my cat Bear was dying, and I don’t need all of that stuff public.
My Rebel Gateau profile is intentionally public, since I use it to promote parties. If you want to get invites to my events, friend me there!
You can also make posts custom-privacy and exclude certain people. For example, if you’re crowd-sourcing support for a recent break-up and want to exclude your ex and their besties.
If you want to check your default settings, there is an icon next to your name on the top right hand side of the page that has a lock image–that’s a shortcut to show you what your future post settings are defaulting to. If you don’t want it to be public, double check that it’s defaulting the way you want it to.
And if you find you’ve been accidentally posting publicly… nobody ever died of awkward.