Thursday, September 18, 2008

This Facebook thing-- Boundary Ambiguity

Ok, so now I have a Facebook entry. The first person who I told was my 18-year-old son who immediately closed his FaceBook entry so I couldn't see it. His comment was, "If old people like you are on this, I need to move on!"

So there my entry sat for a week or so and then someone asked me to be a friend. Hmmm.... I thought so how did they find me. I hadn't really told anyone and the truth is I didn't look for anyone I knew.... so this made me curious. Are there people I know out there. Yes, I found six people from my high school graduation class of about 800. I recognized one name.

So now others have begun to ask me to be friends. Mostly colleagues.... so here is my uncomfortable part. For most people Facebook is this mix of personal and professional stuff. In real life I keep alot of my personal and professional parts of life separate. So on Facebook it seems like this stuff begins to cross between personal and professional. This makes me uncomfortable and seems unfamiliar.

I mentioned this to students and they are not worried. They don't seem to think about boundaries in these ways. Perhaps they will later on, but perhaps not. What should and shouldn't be private?


Tamekia said...

I think it depends. I myself have a facebook account, but I limit what is placed on there. You are right in that this creates boundary ambiguity, especially since younger people put their life stories on their page. Also, employers have begun to use facebook almost like a background check.

thomann2 said...

I would agree. It makes me uncomfortable as well, as I tend to keep my private life private. I have thus far resisted the pressure from friends and family and I do not have facebook or a myspace account!

Robert Hughes Jr, PhD said...

Another solution to this is to have a Facebook account that you only use for professional stuff. I have seen how people use this to link up with others in interesting ways. I have noticed that an increasing number of professioal organizations have a Facebook site, but again they only use it for official stuff. In short, it is like a website only it has the networking feature.