Sometime back at an art show I ran into a photographer friend and his 2 young guests who were introduced as models. One of them was an outright exhibitionist who insisted on showing his bare- chest photographs to every lady present whether she wanted to see it or not. Ladies were running in every direction to avoid him. The other was an aspiring model with a day job at a multinational firm and for all intents and purposes appeared decent.
So when I was invited to become friends on Facebook, I accepted.
That was the beginning of my first and last Facebook Wall invasion. The young executive started to post his ‘model’ pictures on my Wall. He was posting faster than I could delete. A chat with my friend revealed that the wannabe model had tagged along with the exhibitionist. He did not know him from Adam.
My time is a valued commodity and I spend only 12 minutes on social media a day. I started having concerns about the impression that a semi-nude guy with chains and whips would make on friends, some of whom I have known since elementary school and who know me. Tired of hitting the delete button, I Unfriended him in what had to be the shortest friendship ever. Friend had turned into Fiend and I was not having my Wall subjected to a narcissist invasion. Thank God Facebook allows such safety measures!
Now Facebook does not inform people when they have been Unfriended and I guess Fiend in the disguise of Friend found out when he tried to load the next batch of portfolio photographs. There were a few sheepish text messages which I ignored. I was furious and counting to 100 did not help.
One’s social network page is similar to your living room; it is your sacred space. Visitors are allowed in only by invitation. I was not taking on stress when I had power to control and be rid of the ill-mannered guest!
I thought I was a one-off case but recently learned of much worse invasions of Facebook Walls of friends with posts that really should not have been there, third party friends passing rude comments on their Walls and even marketing their products without the friend’s permission.
We are all in control mode now and reviewing and revising our privacy settings as a precautionary measure. There is enough going on in the world to create stress and social networking is meant to make us happy, not create angst.
There is something called Internet Etiquette and while one might forgive spammers, one does not forgive friends or connections.
For Facebook, in addition to the privacy, terms and conditions sections, I highly recommend going through the details in their Help Center. There used to be an Official Facebook Etiquette page which has now been changed.
It is quite easy to block people and forget about the nuisance but here are two tips that can help avoid getting to the point, where blocking and reporting SPAM become the only way out.
First things first, remember that it is your Wall
The bottom line is that your Facebook Wall is YOUR WALL which means that you control the content. It means that you have the right to delete messages, pictures and anything else that you find inappropriate or offensive. It is your sacred space, keep it that way.
Try simple deletes and a private message/phone call to the poster explaining your position and if the poster does not understand what you are saying, go ahead and block them or at least put in controls where your approval is required before a post is loaded on your Wall. Check your account settings and establish necessary controls.
You may not want to go to the extreme of Unfriend someone or blocking the Fiend invasion but yet want to control the content on your Wall in which case, you can block the person from posting on your Wall. Here is a great how –to –do-it link:
Think twice before accepting Friend Requests from strangers
The second tip is a no-brainer but yes, it happens and then what?
You might have inappropriate photographs on your Wall, you may find posts that are really not you and again, what would your friends think?
It is a sad fact that there are people out there that have the idea that their status and popularity depends upon how many friends they have on Facebook. They may not necessarily know many of their friends in real life. That is their self-esteem issue, not yours.
While it is possible to make new friends on Facebook especially if you belong to a group, try to find some common ground. I have done that with great success and yes, we all took time to get to know each other and learn about our new friend’s boundaries. We use the Inbox when required and do not air private matters on Walls.
Some people have this idea that the number of ‘friends’ you have in Facebook is a status indicator of your popularity in real-life. That may be true if these ‘friends’ are people whom one knows offline, and not strangers whom one randomly adds while browsing through the Facebook network.
Treat Facebook for what it is – a social networking site with a purpose, not a mail order catalog where if you like a photograph, you befriend.
You can also accept requests through introductions from existing and real friends.
The Facebook experience should be fun and engaging but not in a manner that can upset or embarrass others.
Be aware at all times of the public nature of Facebook, take appropriate measures to protect your privacy and engage with friends to be a valuable part of their Facebook experience and yours too!
Remember, if you take the ‘r’ out of Friend, you get a Fiend.
Do you have an invasion story that you would like to share? Do tell us about it and how you solved the problem.
Written By: Vatsala ShuklaFollow Me
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