Have you ever thought about some of the things you do on your social media channels, specifically Facebook?
A recent conversation with a friend, in which he was telling me a story about an old family friend he had found on Facebook, made me stop and think about many of the “secret” things people do on Facebook.
You see, my friend had located this family friend on Facebook (whom he hasn’t seen in years) and, because her privacy settings were not set to private, he could browse through all her status updates and photos, and essentially find out all about her life and family (at least the parts she has publicly shared)…without her even knowing he had been looking at her Facebook account.
Is my friend interested in re-establishing the friendship with this family friend from way back? No. He was merely curious to see what she had been up to. Facebook satisfied his curiosity, and he left it at that.
During our conversation, my friend turned to me and said “Don’t tell me you’ve never gone looking for people you used to know on Facebook”. My first reaction was to vehemently yell out “NO! Of course I would never do something like that!”.
Or maybe I would.
SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW
I admit it. I have gone browsing through Facebook pages of people I used to know. I’ve searched old school friends, people I went to school with, friends I used to hang out with, former co-workers, former neighbours.
Yes I’ve looked. I’ve peeked at all the photos and videos of your dogs doing their silly tricks,and your cats lounging on the bed. I’ve smiled at photos of your baby’s cake-filled face, your toddler’s “firsts”, and your teenagers graduation photos. I’ve experienced a wee bit of jealously living vicariously through you and your island vacation photos, and basked in the warmth of the photos of your big family reunion. I’ve even teared up reading your status updates announcing the passing of your family members. People I never really knew, but “knew of”, because of you.
Why have I looked? Simple human curiosity.
Don’t we all wonder sometimes “what ever happened to…?”
With over 1.44 BILLION active users on Facebook (Google it if you don’t believe me), there’s no better place to find out what ever happened your long-lost BFF from Kindergarten, or that family friend you haven’t seen in 25 years.
Then it hit me. Ugh!
Am I a Creeper?
For those of us who spend a lot of time online, we are all familiar with the term “creeper”. An online Creeper is someone, you may or may not know, who has transgressed a personal boundary. As a person who writes a blog, shares personal information and photos on a regular basis, I probably have all kinds of “Creepers” who follow my blog and social media channels. That’s okay, and it’s to be expected when you “put yourself out there” in the online world.
The difference with my “creeping” on Facebook is that my old friends and acquaintances likely don’t know that I have been “creeping” their Facebook page. They may not have verified the privacy settings on their Facebook page, or maybe they don’t even know how to set their privacy settings. The point is, they don’t know I’ve been looking at all their “personal” information.
The more I thought about this “secret” creeping, the more I remembered things friends had shared with me over time that they “secretly” do on Facebook.
ADMIT IT! 15 THINGS YOU’VE SECRETLY DONE ON FACEBOOK
Have you ever?
1. Scoured Facebook for old friends and acquaintances. Snooped through all their old photos/status updates. Found the name of someone else you know on your old friend’s page, clicked on their page and looked through all their photos and status updates too. Before you know it, you’ve creeped a dozen people you used to know…and maybe even some you don’t!
2. Blocked potential friends, not even allowing them the chance to send you a “friend request”.
3. Hidden comments made by friends or family in your status update. Handy when mom leaves an embarrassing comment about something you did when you were a kid. You hide mom’s comment and she doesn’t even know – because she can still see it (so can her friends…but at least yours can’t!).
4. Saved someone’s photo without their knowledge. Great for people like me to be able to save precious photos of family members who live far away…but not so great when those photos are saved by someone who shouldn’t be saving them. You’ll never know when someone has saved your photo to their computer. Facebook will never tell!
5. Print screened a comment or photo. Remember, whatever you share on the internet, stays on the internet, in one way or another. It takes mere seconds to take a print screen of something you’ve seen. Just because you delete something doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t already saved it – and created a viral meme out of it.
6. Visited a Facebook page of someone who has passed away. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, I hope people visit my page when I’m gone.
7. Snooped through your kids’ friends’ pages – hoping to learn more about those friends, then leaving their Facebook page knowing more about them than you ever wanted to know.
8. Downloaded an app to find out who unfriended you. Because WHO has the gall to unfriend you? You MUST know!
9. Categorized certain Facebook friends as “friends”, and other friends “close friends”. Are you just a friend, or are you a “close” friend? You’ll never know!
10. Muted certain friends status updates from your feed. This can be handy for the friend who shares a photo of every single meal with you, however, if you feel you have to mute your friend’s updates and vaguebooking from your feed, that begs the question, why are you still friends (at least on Facebook)?
11. Purposely edited your “friends box” so that only your BFF’s show up in the box when someone looks at your page. Do this and you may just find yourself being unfriended, and the victim of #2 on this list.
12. Friended a total stranger in error…they friend you back. No one “unfriends” the other. You remain friends yet, you’ve never met IRL, nor have you conversed online. You’re just random Facebook friends. I cannot even comprehend that one.
13. Shared something private about, or a photo of, a friend or family member who is not on Facebook. For those of you who don’t have a Facebook account because you don’t want to be on Facebook, I hate to break it to you, you probably are on Facebook whether you like it or not.
14. Bombarded your friends with repeated invites to join them in Candy Crush or some other Facebook game. I once saw a friend call out another friend on their Facebook page telling them to STOP sending these invitations. Suddenly a “secret” invite became very public, lol.
15. Sent a friend request to someone just because they are a friend, or relative, of a friend of yours. Just because they are your best friend’s cousin’s girlfriend’s 2nd cousin, twice removed, doesn’t mean they want to be your Facebook friend. (Did I lose you there?)
With this article, I’ve most certainly meant to poke fun at many of the “secret” things we do on Facebook, however, if you value your privacy, please take this as a warning and update your privacy settings on your Facebook account now. While I will miss browsing through your awesome family photos, so will the types of “Creepers” you should be much more concerned about.
What “secret” thing have YOU done on Facebook? Have you checked your privacy settings?
Disclosure: Canadian Blog House was not compensated for this post. Think of this more as a PSA.