Like many of my friends with lives as semi-public figures (writers, activists, actors, etc.), I’ve decided that I need a more delineated approach to how my life on Facebook is managed. As many of you know, I’ve advocated (especially in my book) for a more-the-merrier approach to what you share with whom, since I feel like the cross-pollination of our lives across multiple spheres (work, family, friends) can really go a long way towards digital consciousness raising.
I still believe that deeply, but I’m having some difficulty managing my Facebook relationships with people that I don’t know at all. One of the main challenges I’ve run up against is how Facebook is now much more of a web platform/identity manager than it was previously. It connects with a multitude other services and tools now that don’t let me distinguish how I know people. I manage my information on Facebook itself with lists and assigning privileges to them, but it’s just not working for other services. I’m not able to take advantage of some new tools, because I can’t manage the flow of info, and I feel like I’m missing out on those new services. (And I’m not able to do the R&D I need to on behalf of my clients).
For about six months now, I’ve debated setting up a public page for myself. I’ve felt weird about it because it’s always felt like, “Really? A public page, Deanna? You’re not famous! Who do you think you are?” In the end, though, I haven’t found another way for me to stay in touch with people who are interested in my work/life but with whom I don’t have a personal relationship.
Thus, I’ve set up a page for myself and want to ask folks that feel so inclined to like that page. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be deleting friends that I don’t know or don’t know that well from my personal Facebook profile.
I don’t plan on changing what I post publicly on either my profile or my page (which will have Twitter hooked up to it). I’m still pretty free-for-all when it comes to what I share, and I know where my boundaries are about what’s private for me. I believe that every person should share according to where their comfort zone is, though, and every person should be able to decide what kinds of relationships they want to engage with.
I apologize if this hurts folks’ feelings, or if it makes them feel weird about my evangelizing on how I think sharing on social networks can change the world. I’ve advocated for more nuanced features in these services, but we’re just not there yet. Hopefully this will be an understandable stopgap measure until we get there.