Facebook's new status feature may cause headaches

Last week, Facebook announced another feature that should make you scramble to update your privacy settings.

It's called status tagging, and it's very similar to when you tag your Facebook friends in photos or notes, but you're giving them a trackable shoutout in your status update.

Basically, it's also Facebook's way of making their features more similar to how Twitter works. On Twitter, when you mention someone by name, it's preceded by an @ symbol, which alerts them to the fact you're talking to them.

On Facebook, though, it doesn't happen automatically the way it does with Twitter.

If you want to tag someone in a status update, type in the @ symbol, and without a space, start typing the name of a friend, fanpage or group you want to tag. You'll see a drop-down menu of related people or pages -- just like when you search for someone's name you are already friends with.

Select one of them, and it will automatically put them in your status update.

Here's where the potential for problems comes in: Anytime someone tags you in their status, it will show up on your wall, just like it does now when you're tagged in photos or notes.

So, for example, if you have foul-mouthed friends who have a penchant for tagging you in pictures you don't want your boss to see, you may need to make sure they're not embarrassing you in status updates tags, too.

This is a good time to revisit your settings for who can see what on your profile. If you already have strict settings for people who can/cannot see photos tagged of you, maybe it's time to create a strict setting for who can see your wall. (To do this, click on the ``settings'' tab in the upper right hand corner, next to your name, and then visit ``privacy settings.'')

On another note, it's been almost a year now that we've been writing Poked -- answering your questions and setting some netiquette violators straight. We noticed The New York Times and AdAge just started their own online advice columns last week -- it goes to show you that there's a need out there for learning how to deal with this new way of interacting.

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How to tag your friends in a Facebook Status update

Today Facebook launched the ability to tag your friends, groups, or fan pages in a status message (not in the comments -- just in the original post).

Here's how you do it. When you want to tag something, type the "@" symbol and start typing their name. You'll then get a list of suggested friends or groups -- just like when you go to search for someone.


Click the name of the person you want to tag, and the "@" symbol goes away and the name becomes a clickable link back to their page.

Now Niala is notified that I tagged her, the same way you're notified if you are tagged in a photo or note.

Tagging friends worked for me, but it totally wigged out when I tried to tag the Poked fan page:


Hopefully that glitch will be fixed... anyone else have a problem trying to tag a group or fan page? Perhaps it's because we have a colon in our fan page name.

[UPDATE: Facebook has told us they're looking into the glitch.]

CNN interviewed Randi Zuckerberg about the new feature and if this was a way to keep up with Twitter, which uses the @name feature to tag users. You can watch the interview below.

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Do you tag co-workers in the '25 Random Things' Facebook note?

How many more articles and blog posts can be written about the popularity of the '25 Random Things' note on Facebook? Clearly not enough, because this week Niala and I wanted to give our two-cents on the matter when it comes to tagging co-workers in your notes.

Now if you've been living in a cave with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears for the past month, here's why this note is such a big deal: Facebook tells us that there have been nearly 5 million users who created notes in the last week -- more than double last week and more than any other week in the history of Facebook. And the daily number of users that get tagged in a note has increased by 5 times.

And with millions of notes made, you know people are sharing this with professional colleagues.

Which brings us to this week's Poked column, posted below for your reading pleasure:

And now, 25 Random Things About Us! OK, not really. But since a Facebook note like this has provoked such a firestorm recently, we thought we would weigh in.

If you haven't heard, the ''25 Random Things'' is an online note where you write 25 pieces of information about yourself that other people might not know about you. Usually, people tag others to let them know about it, and with the hopes they continue the process of sharing your own personal facts.

Millions of these notes have been created. Predictably, groups that hate the note have also sprung up on Facebook, including ''Boycott 25 Random Things'' and ``I Refuse to Complete the 25 Random Things List!''

We're not going to get into the merits of writing these notes. Suffice to say, there seems to be two pretty clear camps on this, and your Poked columnists are among them. Bridget thought it was self-indulgent and annoying. Niala liked reading them, because it was a way to learn more about some old friends, so she wrote one, too.

Still, both of us were surprised at some of the oversharing that went into these notes, with people baring some fairly intimate details about themselves that were subsequently made public to the Facebook world. MySpace is full of this, but many on Facebook may not be as used to this level of soul-baring.

Here's the thing: What you do in your personal life is certainly your own business. But sharing these details with co-workers can get pretty dicey -- or even worse, tagging your boss in a note inviting them into this sharing experience.

We've been fielding inquiries from angry coworkers who are upset that they've been tagged in these notes.

One worker categorized being forced to read them as ''a special level of Hell,'' in that person's words.

Which goes to show that you should think twice about who you include when the next wave of ''25 Random Things'' hits. Of course, the people who are tagged can just ignore it, but if you're a note-writer you should think twice about who you invite -- because a lot of co-workers have made it clear to us they find them annoying, akin to passing on a horrible chain letter.

And if you do publish notes, remember that you can limit who sees them.

Do all your coworkers, or the higherups on Facebook need to be among them?

What do you think? Share your 25 thoughts via email to Poked@MiamiHerald.com, or you weigh in at the comments section below.

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Yet another way for your non-friends to see your "private" Facebook photos

TinkerbellFacebook photos of my Halloween costume (pictured here) came up in coversation at work, and one of my editors -- who isn't my Facebook friend -- said they also saw the photos.

The Halloween party photos were posted by fellow Poked blogger Niala, who hosted the party. The editor -- who isn't my facebook friend -- also is not Niala's facebook friend. (But if that editor is reading this post, I'll be happy to add you! Heh, heh...) So if the editor isn't connected to either Niala or I, how did the editor have access to the party photos?

A friend of the editor was tagged in a party photo, so the editor was able to scroll through all the photos in Niala's party album.

I don't mind. Heck, I'm proud of my Tinkerbell outfit! If there was a bad photo in the mix, I would have asked Niala to take it down. But it's just another thing to keep in mind of how people who aren't your friends can still see your photos.

Normally, I block my bosses from seeing photos that friends tag me in, since I don't have control over what stupid photos my friends will share. But here is a case where a privacy setting wouldn't have made a difference.

I guess Niala could have made the party's photos super private. That's not always fun, but I would recommend doing that if you post photos that might be deemed scandalous... or just deemed embarrassing to show the boss if they are of a co-worker. Luckily that wasn't the case for me... this time.

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Scary pictures of your boss?

Medium_pumpkin Happy Halloween! Some folks at work today (including my boss) are dressed up for the occasion. (I'm saving my pirate outfit for later this evening). I couldn't help it..I took a picture and immediately wanted to post it on Facebook. But since he's my boss, I did ask first -- "Hey, mind if I post this on Facebook?". He said, sure. Sometimes I wonder if I'm hypersensitive to photos posted on Facebook.  What do you guys think?

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