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You want to enjoy the fruits of Facebook; you know the amazing ability to share with your friends, but you want to do it on your own terms. Facebook privacy groups? Thanks Mr. Zuckerberg, but that’s just not for you, you are creative and inventive.

We all have that friend on Facebook who wants to have their cake and eat it too in regards to privacy. Their thirst for selective anonymity has created some fairly unique methods to achieve as much of it as is possible on a social network (the notion seems oxymoronic). Below are just a few of the creative (and sometimes hilarious) means by which our friends have managed to accomplish this:

The Name Game – You don’t want any artificial restrictions but you would like a little anonymity with the ability for your friends to still recognize you. How about a slight name change, but nothing too drastic? Users do this by omitting their surname and using only their given and middle names.  So if James Polk yearned for anonymity he would change his user name to James Knox and our eleventh president could peruse Facebook in relative peace while still being recognizable to his immediate friends. All of a sudden, your best friend has a new last name on Facebook? No, they didn’t elope without telling you or recently join the witness protection program, they are just playing the name game.

The Untagger – You’re snapping away one afternoon at a casual summer bbq and, if your don’t say so yourself, you’ve taken some pictures that would make Ansel Adams proud.  You hop online later that night to upload the cream of the crop and do the obligatory friend tagging. The next morning you notice one of your friends has untagged themselves from every photo. That great group shot next to the grill? Untagged. Them eating a giant slice of watermelon with their nephew? Untagged. The candid photo of the impromptu water fight? Untagged. But wait there’s a message in your inbox, and it’s from the friend in question: “Sorry I untagged the photos, I just have this personal policy where I don’t want any photos linked to me on Facebook.” This is the untagger, with the mantra, “If I’m not tagged doing it, then it never really happened.”

The Covert Operative – This friend is a real genius with privacy settings, and their ability to manipulate their personal settings renders them near invisible on Facebook. Their online identity is locked up tighter than an Iowa trailer park during tornado season. Aside from the annual happy birthday message you receive from them, it was like they weren’t even there… or maybe they aren’t? Good luck searching for this individual to initially Friend them, because if you aren’t friends with them already their profile isn’t visible. If they don’t want you to find them, guess what? You won’t. If this friend is ever seeking another form of employment, maybe they should call the NSA, CIA or another secretive three letter government agency. Come to think of it, they may be in their employ already. It would explain a lot.

The Berlin Wall – You’ve been writing on your friends wall for years, the occasional inside joke, maybe an NYT article you think they will find interesting or perhaps a YouTube video sure to bring a smile to the their face and brighten the day. You log on one day to post your newest gem only to find that this friend no longer has a wall, yes they’ve done it. They have decided to join the growing ranks of the wall-less. Attention friends, the wall has fallen.

The Ghost – You were just Facebook chatting with this individual yesterday, and while you were you were in blissful conversation, you posted a link to their wall. A few days later you have something you want to share with them. You type their name in the search bar and nothing comes up, you think they must have left Facebook for good. Jeez, another one bites the dust. Don’t they know that quitting Facebook is like trying to swim upstream? But a few days later, you hear a beep and it’s the same friend Facebook chatting with you. Their profile is intact, just how you remembered it a few days back. Look, your post is still on their wall. How is this possible? This is the Ghost at work. They inform you that whenever they sign off, they quit Facebook and disable their profile making it like they were never there. They are currently in Facebook purgatory (Facebook saves your profile and settings internally exactly as you had it when you leave, just in case you want to come back) This user signs on the next day and reactivates their profile, meaning you can only find them, comment or post when they are online so they have real time editing control. The ghost comes and goes as they please, activating and de-activating their account at will. Gone one day, and then back again the next? This is The Ghost.

 

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