ALCStudies Journal

Advanced Labor & Cultural Studies Web Site & Blog

The Limits of Facebook

Please see thoughtful comments by J.M.L., one of my colleagues, on the pros and cons of using Facebook for your job search. 
Coming in from lurk-only mode to see if I can speak "intelligently" about WQ using Facebook.
I’ve had a personal account for about 18 months, and have done a small amount of marketing/promotion for an organization whose board I’m on.

Facebook is an interesting world, although I think I often find it as irritating as I do useful. So many people playing games, sending you endless "gifts", posting personal minutiae, etc. My response to alot of it is, "Sorry, I’m just not that into you (and no one else is, either). But that’s just my personal curmudgeon coming out.

My main concern with using FB for WorkQuest is the privacy issue. If you even glance at the news, you know this has been an ongoing problem with FB for a long time. They keep coming out with new policies, many of which have been criticized for violating their users’ privacy, often in under-handed ways. Even when they revise their policies and supposedly improve security, it’s murky and a constantly moving target. It’s hard to know whether your personal privacy settings are proving you with the privacy level you want or not. I’ve gone in to check and reset mine a couple of times, only to have FB announce another change (and I still can’t tell if it’s an improvement or not).

For those of you who have FB accounts, google your name (works better with quotes, I think), and get all the results (the ones that Google omits unless you want to see them). I think I have my privacy controls set to keep my FB info off of search engines, yet several of my posts and responses to people show up as hits. Many of my FB friends’ names show up, too.

WorkQuesters absolutely needs not only privacy, but confidentiality. How can a WorkQuester discuss a situation with a previous employer or ask about a potential one in a medium like FB? Even if the most rigid privacy settings were in place, each individual user would have to abide by it – and hope that FB doesn’t change them again. Hell, it’s hard to keep people from hitting "reply all"

I’m not a FB "poweruser" (I’m only halfway through FB Marketing for Dummies), but all the IT and social media experts point out that FB is all about transparency, regardless of the veneer of privacy that FB provides. There may be some ways to create truly private, invitation-only groups on FB that would provide the confidentiality that WQ requires. But what would be the point, really – and how would it be any different than the current yahoo group?

Well, those are my thoughts. I’ll be interested to hear other, even opposing, viewpoints.


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