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Privacy settings can’t always protect you from your Facebook friends

I love my friends, but sometimes they have no clue about social networking etiquette.

Posting embarrassing photos is something friends often do, but at least I have control over photos. I can always un-tag myself or set up privacy settings.

But posting my phone number on someone's public profile wall? That's a netiquette offense!

Here's how it happened: Last night I was heading over to a friend's house to watch the BCS Championship game (GO GATORS!). But I wasn't too clear on which road to turn on to get to the place. When I call the guy that lives there, his phone didn't seem to be working. (Phone kept saying his number was no longer in service.)

So I call up my roommate at home and ask her, "Hey, can you send a Facebook message over to the guys that live there and tell them to call me with directions? Put my phone number in the message."

I assumed she understood that to be a private Facebook message. Instead, she put my phone number on their public walls. I didn't realize this until I checked my Facebook account this morning.

My roommate sleeps during the day, so I sent a message to the guys asking if they could take it down. I feel so embarrassed and I had no control over it!

Was it my fault for not specifying to my roommate how to send the message? The lesson learned is that I shouldn't have assumed everyone has the same privacy values I do. What isn't a big deal to my roommate was a big deal to me. So I guess I can't really get mad at her. What would you do in that situation?

In my roommate's defense, I did wake her up from a nap when she sent the Facebook messages. So she was a bit groggy and just being nice and doing me a favor. For all I know, maybe she thought I asked her to post my phone number on their walls.

I'll get over it, but nevertheless it inspired me to write this post as a warning to the rest of you out there --- don't ever discuss private information about your friends on other people's walls, since they have no control over who sees it. When in doubt, send a private message. And in my case, when asking someone else to send a message on a social network, be specific!

-- Bridget


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I don't get it. Did you get any calls from people complaining about your review of the Blackberry Storm?

Haha, oh you got me Andy ;P

Well obviously no real harm has been done (as far as I know). It's just I felt discombobulated when I saw my personal number out there for the whole world to see on the news feed and I had no power in taking it down.

One day I'll tell you the story about the time the Herald printed my social security number on the front page of its Business section.

I think you'll get over it. Your roommate isn't your personal secretary, nor is your roommate a go-between for MAPQUEST. It sounds like to me you are a little too worried about your privacy and not concerned enough about your roommate's privacy. She was sleeping and not attending the football party with you.... so unless you specified how you wanted the message sent, she assumed the easiest and fastest way to get your friend's attention was to write on their wall. I believe she did the right thing, as you got your directions. If I was your friend and had my phone turned off, I would not be checking my email either, so I might have missed it. However, I know what is written on my wall isn't spam or junk, or just some other notification, but a real conversation deserving my attention from a real friend.

You really need to get over yourself though; no matter how private you wish things were, you are not the center of your own "private universe".

Oh yeah... btw, who made you the Miss Manners of Facebook???

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