So I keep getting tagged in photos on Facebook by one of my friends that I would rather not have on my profile, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings. This must happen to everyone, not me, right? Anyway, thanks for any advice! –Sara
Facebook. I held out against joining the social network for five years past its inception. My girlfriends would talk about old friends and flames from high school they’d rediscovered, how I had to join. At its onset, I felt Facebook was too invasive of one’s privacy. I was not interested in having my personal life on display in cyberspace for all to see. Only after I learned about the customizable privacy settings did my case against the site begin to wane. And I suppose the engagement ring I was newly wearing at the time may have had a little something to do with it, too. I mean, let’s be honest.
I relented, signed up for a Facebook account and cranked my privacy parameters high. I found a handful of old friends that I had lost touch with over the years. I was able to keep up to date with family members that are scattered across the country. It was a place to find each other and stay connected when the day-to-day gets too busy to make long-overdue phone calls. All in all it was great. And then, I had a baby.
A couple months after my son was born, we went to a family reunion on a lake in lovely Minnesota. When I returned home, I logged on to Facebook and to my dismay, found the most unflattering photo of myself I’ve ever seen: a photo taken at the reunion of me in a bathing suit, with twenty-five extra pounds of post-pregnancy baby weight hanging off my frame. I was mortified. Not only was the photo online for all to see, but I was tagged in it, ensuring its debut was announced to all my online friends. Ashley Fauset was tagged in a photo. How could the person who posted it have thought it was okay to share that image online?
Facebook is one of the most public places we go, despite the fact that we most often visit the site when we’re alone. It’s not only a place to keep in touch with far away friends and share life events; Many people prefer to keep their online profiles professional, as companies and employers are often view such information onlinethe site gives users the opportunity to curate their online identity to portray a certain persona, to brand themselves publicly. Many people prefer to keep their online profiles professional, as companies and employers are often view such information online, especially during the hiring process. Others share all their wild and crazy adventures, post questionable photos and use colorful language. The way I use Facebook may be entirely different from the way you use it, which is likely different from how the next person uses it.
So what should we do about unwanted tags and photos? Let’s begin to implement some general Facebook courtesy–a little online etiquette–if you don’t practice it already, that is, in the hopes that our friends will follow suit. It’s really rather easy. Just take a moment to think before you tag photos, take the following points into account and use common sense before you click that little blue box bearing the word “post.”
Look at the photo you’re about to post. How do all your friends look? Are your they scantily clad? Amid a night of drunken debauchery? Are they doing something incriminating? Are they with someone they shouldn’t be? Think twice about posting a photo that portrays people in a bad light. If it were you in the photo, would you still post it online? Consider the people who aren’t in the photo. Was it taken at an exclusive event that when publicized will make others feel left out?
Don’t post images on Facebook from people’s weddings or of their new babies until they do. Such occasions are very personal, and people may not want their news leaked online by a third party. Let your friends make the first post, then feel free to follow suit afterwards in sharing the good news.
Tagging should not be a means to share information with your friends. Don’t tag them in the poster for your band’s upcoming show, as a means for marketing to build a greater audience, to include them in a group thank you note, or to invite them to an event. Remember that these tagged photos will appear on your friends’ pages, and may contain information or images your friends may wish to keep private or feel is inappropriate for their greater online audience. If you want to ensure they see a particular photo, post or event, send it in a private message or even in an email outside of Facebook.
At this point in time, we have no control over the images posted on Facebook, but we can help control who sees them and who does not. To avoid being tagged in images and notes, Facebook offers the “tag review” option for each user to approve tagged photos in order to appear in their news feed. Another newer feature is to turn off automatic tag suggestions which prevents your name from appearing in the list suggested names when a person tags a photo. If you have a problem with an individual who continues to post and/or tag you against your wishes, you should contact them directly to request they cease such behavior, or block them altogether if the issue escalates.
Have you had to remove tags from photos you were in on Facebook? Do you think your friends should have to get your permission to post a photo of you?
Modern Manners has the answers to your etiquette uncertainties. Have a specific question? Please ask Ashley in the the comments below, send an email to askashley[at]movelifestyle[dot]com or send a tweet to @movelifestyle with the hashtag #MoveAskAsh.