Imagine you are a guest at a wedding and during the reception a slide show of the bride's mother giving birth to the bride is displayed on giant flat screens while you eat your choice of chicken marsala or prime rib. Is this appetizing? As you sign onto Facebook: LOOK! There on your wall is an update from a friend who has "shared" a full-color picture of his red, angry surgical scar. Do you send a "get well" poke? Now, you head over to Twitter and click on your colleague's link, "What my daughter did today!" only to be confronted with a Twitpic of a toilet with very yellow water. Should a pee stream be posted to a Twitterstream?
Friends, family and co-workers are using digital technology, but not all of them will use it in ways you consider appropriate. What are you going to do about it? Should you do anything about it?
One option is restricting access. But that doesn't really solve the problem. As Sarah points out:
So a ton of people right now are making their blogs private. why I ask?? I have never had any weird comments or anything out of the ordinary.
The weirdness is not who you're reading, it's what is being sent out to you. Sure you can trim your Twitterstream. You can unfriend folks. But is that the way to go? Maybe it's diplomatic to do it like that? Not confront anyone, just let them fade off Facebook. Let's not forget humor as an option. I think a point made with a sense of humor can be even more memorable than a pointed discussion, which may come off as terribly judgmental to the person on the receiving end.
You could write a status update about the wedding on Facebook -- knowing half of the bride's family is on your friend list -- and share, "Just saw Aunt Joan's hoo-hah at Debbie's wedding. Mazel Tov!" This may make your point without making any enemies.
Keep in mind your own comfort level may be different than that of other people, and your friends and family are well intentioned. Maybe you want to come up with your own rules and list your expectations so everyone is clear about why you might unfriend or unfollow. Kelly wrote up her own list of why she might give someone the axe on Facebook. Two of them are:
Post TMI stuff on your status. I don't want to know everything about your life. If I did, we'd be more than just Facebook friends.
Use your status updates to give a play-by-play of your entire day. There's a place for this people. It's called Twitter. Make the switch.
She also points out that she considers who has made the offense:
**If you are reading this and do one or more of these things and we're still Facebook friends, it's because that's how much I love you.**
We all have our own schtick. We all have our own tolerances and comfort levels. Florinda talks about her feelings about being able to share one thing but maybe not another:
I've always been much more tentative about sharing musical tastes than almost anything else. I may have a hard time narrowing down my favorite books, but I'll tell you some of them if you really want to know. I don't mind telling you what foods I like best, or what movies I've watched over and over, or which TV shows I want to own on DVD.
What you may consider to be an embarassing admission may be another's catharsis. You're not going to be able to control what others post, tweet or share; what you can control is your response to any of it.
Have you had to handle any unexpected situations on Twitter or Facebook? Let's continue the conversation in the Family Connections group.
More from parenting