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Facebook and privacy
Dear Emma,
I am writing to warn your readers about their use of Facebook. I realize that most people use it and that it is very popular for communication with family members and friends and that for many, not using it is not really an option anymore. I have friends that use it for storing data (ie in notes) which I think is probably not a good idea and friends that use it for messaging, forgoing emails and all other forms of messaging (also probably not a really good idea).
Given how many people share the (false) information that their information is public via the ticker it would appear that there are quite a few people who don’t understand how to set their Facebook privacy settings. I hope you don’t mind if I step up on my soapbox and inform people about Facebook?
First of all, if you think by asking your friends to hide you on their ticker will hide them from others you are mistaken. All you are doing is asking them to hide you from them. Your privacy settings are your responsibility and have nothing to do with what is visible to others. If you do not want your posts or photos to be visible to non-friends then set your privacy settings that way.
Do not ever have your posts set to public unless you want the world to see them!
Another alternative is to create groups of friends; for example acquaintances, friends and good friends. You can then add friends to each group and then set each post or photo or album to be visible in each group. So, for example, let’s say you have 500 friends but really only 50 that you want to see everything, another 200 that you don’t mind seeing more things and then 250 people that you don’t really know that well and prefer that they see very little.
Set the final 250 to “Acquaintance”, the 200 to “Friends” and the 50 to “Good Friends”. Then, click on the little gear next to your name in the upper right hand corner of Facebook and pick “Privacy Settings”. Click on the “Who Can see your future posts” button and click on the drop down menu. From there you can click “Custom” and exclude people or include people. Alternatively, just use the “Good Friends” option for most of your posts.
Adding people to a group is easy enough; hover over the person’s name and their profile will come up, there will be a box for “Friends” click on the drop down menu and click on “Add to another list”. This will give you the option to create the group. It’s a bit time consuming to set up but once you have it any new friends can be easily added to whatever group you feel comfortable with.
Alternatively, do not accept friend requests from people who are not close friends.
When you post a photo and tag a friend in it you can choose who can see that tag. Most people allow friends of friends to see the tag (so that the person’s friends can see the photo too) but you can set it so it cannot be seen by anyone other than your friends and the tagged person as well.
Finally, Emma, one last plea to Facebook users. Do not share these endless photos saying if you like this Facebook or Microsoft will donate $1 to the cancer victim. It simply is not true. is a great resource for this kind of thing and if you see something check there first before sharing. There is no need to pass on misinformation or false information. I often will post the link to the Snopes article to my friend’s shared posts like this. Perhaps it is a bit annoying but honestly, their posts are even more so.
I hope this has not been too long or too boring but I hope it helps your readers to be more Facebook savvy.
Social media geek

Dear Geek,
Thank you so much for that comprehensive guide. I will leave it in full and hope our readers take heed. If they have any questions or wish to find out more I will ask them to please email our editor and she can pass them on to you. Emma respects the need for privacy, either on Facebook or the internet or out in the “real” world as well.

Woman thinking
Dear Emma,
As a woman perhaps you can explain to me “woman thinking” as a mate of mine puts it. My girlfriend overthinks everything. Everything I do must have some ulterior motive. It doesn’t matter if it is buying her flowers or liking someone else’s post on Facebook. She seems to think there is a deep and often sinister reason behind it all.
She isn’t actually jealous of other women but she does think that if I like a friend’s post on Facebook then I must like her, or if don’t answer her message right away I am ignoring her and the relationship is in trouble.
I talked to some mates of mine and they said women think this way. It must be exhausting if it is true. What do I need to do to make my girlfriend realize there is usually no motive at all behind my actions other than just what I am doing?
Dear Frustrated,
Yes, women do tend to overthink and ascribe motives to things that appear motiveless. But, Emma must be honest here, that is often because when something does happen and we discount our intuition and convince ourselves that it is motiveless is when there really is a motive after all.
Emma realizes men think women are confusing but women also think the same. Men are oftentimes not as honest as they could or should be, either to their partner or to themselves. So, before assuming your girlfriend is a paranoid wreck Emma asks that you take a good hard look at your own behaviour and if there is anything there that is sending the wrong signals or if you are acting in an ambiguous way that would give your girlfriend cause to question what you are really doing.
If you feel that you are being open and totally honest with your girlfriend (and do remember to be totally honest with yourself first) then you should consider sitting down with your girlfriend and talking about the things that triggers these reactions. It could be something as simple as a previous boyfriend cheated on her and she believed the lies and now has a hard time trusting again. A little empathy and really listening can go a long way towards making a relationship truly happy and successful.