This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published March 4, 2011)

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, March 4, 2011
Metro section

Facebook users, get ready for more changes:

It used to be that there were only two sure things in life: death and taxes. In these modern times, one more so-called “sure thing” must be added to the list: death, taxes… and changes to Facebook.

The latest is the eventual disappearance of the “share” button – previously used to allow you to share someone else’s news with your followers. Other buttons you would regularly see under someone’s status update would be “comment” and “like.” While the “comment” button remains the same (at least for now), the “share” button is being phased out.

Now, when you click “like”, expect Facebook to post this to your newsfeed along with content you liked. Previously, liking a comment or a post was pretty innocuous and users could be prone to liking something politically incorrect or risqué. Now, it will be there for everyone to see, although you can always go to your profile page and manually delete it from your feed – at least that’s what I assume because you can with other things.

While this will likely reduce the number of “like” clicks because users won’t want the content posted to their newsfeed, it will make sharing information you like that much easier.

Managing how your profile looks:

I, for one, believe it’s important to keep one’s Facebook profile free of clutter, especially all those notices that you commented on someone else’s status update, that you friended someone or that you liked a page. I don’t need to show all my Facebook friends how obsessive I’ve been on Facebook in any given day.

With that said, I make it a firm habit of deleting everything from my profile newsfeed (which deletes it from your general newsfeed) that isn’t a status update, photo, video or link that I’ve posted. Any notices about me friending someone, commenting on a friend’s status or liking a page (celebrity, company, etc.) are deleted.

The value in keeping my profile newsfeed clean is that I want my Facebook friends to see what I’m thinking and what I’m posting. Quite frankly, though, it’s none of their business to see that I’ve been leaving comments all over the place or that I just friended someone I used to know in kindergarten.

It’s perfectly fine to leave that there if you want, but I find that it clutters your profile’s newsfeed needlessly.

First impressions are important. Heck, any impression is important – let’s be honest. If you’re my friend on Facebook and want to check out my profile page, I don’t want your first thought to be, “Wow, Brian spent a ton of time on Facebook today.” All those notices that I posted on others’ status updates, etc., can be misleading. Some of that stuff takes literally seconds to do, but it can give your friends, co-workers or even your boss the impression that you’ve spent the entire day on Facebook looking at photos of your neighbour’s dog.

So, I delete all that garbage (it doesn’t delete your comments on photos, status updates, etc. – it just deletes the notice from your newsfeed) and show people exactly what I want them to see: my latest updates, links, photos, videos, etc. It’s clean. It’s concise. Most importantly, it doesn’t give them an insight about my other recent activities on Facebook.

Previously, Facebook users were able to opt out of placing all that information on their newsfeed, but Facebook did away with that a long time ago. Now, you have to manually delete that stuff.

You may wonder, “How do I do that? I don’t see a delete button when I try to get rid of the comment posted to my profile newsfeed after I said I liked my grandmother’s new dress.” Just scroll over to the side of the comment you want to delete and a hidden “delete” feature will appear. You need to scroll over it for it to appear.

I have no idea why Facebook doesn’t make the delete feature visible, but it’s not… so you have to scroll over to the side of the message in order for that invisible feature to become visible.

If you previously thought you had no choice but to show everyone all your activity on Facebook, that’s not the case. Keep your profile clean of garbage.

Besides, people who land on your profile and read the comments you left on a friend’s status update do not know your relationship. Something you write in jest can be taken the wrong way by someone else for whom it wasn’t even intended. Take away all that potential for misunderstanding by getting rid of all that from your profile.

Tweet by Canadian singer causes waves:

A recent tweet by Canadian songstress Nelly Furtado has been getting a lot of attention. On Monday, she posted the following tweet: “In 2007, I was paid $1 million by the (Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi) clan to play a 45-minute show for guests at a hotel in Italy. I am going to donate this (money).”

Questions are arising surrounding Furtado’s motivation in this, considering she was paid way back in 2007, has had a relatively low profile lately, and could be seen to be taking advantage of Gadhafi’s troubles to cause some good publicity for herself.

Not that there’s anything wrong with announcing something like this, but Gadhafi was regarded as a “bad guy” back then, too.

This sounds more like damage control on her part now that the (apparently outgoing) dictator is persona non grata around the globe. In her defence, many companies around the world also did business in Libya, so she’s not alone.

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