We’ve all heard stories about people using Facebook to reconnect with long-lost classmates or make new friends. I love Facebook because it helps me keep in touch with friends around the world. Now, when I call someone I haven’t spoken to in a while, I already know a little bit about what’s going on in their lives, so I can ask specific questions and skip the small talk. It’s easy to remain a regular part of someone’s life through a quick comment or share. It also lets me know when to reach out to a friend who might be in need of support. Facebook is a great tool for anyone who wants to maintain relationships with people they don’t get to see on a regular basis. It’s an amazing way to rally support when you need it — people are always online, so you’re really never alone.
If you’re not on Facebook yet, you can get started with this guide. If you already have a Facebook account, keep reading.
Facebook is a great resource, but it can cause trouble if you don’t use it wisely. I’m going to walk you through two important topics: Privacy and Pages.
First, a little terminology:
- Newsfeed: The page you see when you first login to Facebook
- Profile: Your webpage on Facebook or the webpage of another person
- Page: Like a profile, but for organizations or companies
- Wall: aka Timeline. The part of a Facebook profile or page that shows content that has been shared in chronological order
- Post: When you share an article, an update, a photo, etc. you’re creating a post
Privacy on Facebook
One of the neat things about Facebook is you have a lot of control over what you share with who. Your profile can be public or private. In fact, you can make post only visible to specific people, a list of friends, members of a group you belong to, or friends who went to a certain school. Visit Facebook’s instructions for details on how to control privacy.
Posts to groups will either be public or private, depending on group settings.
All posts on Facebook pages are public.
ublic posts don’t just appear on the profile, group, or page where they’re originally posted. Public Facebook posts can be shared with other profiles, pages, or groups. They can appear in the timelines of people who are connected to the author, the author’s friends, the group, or the page. They can also appear in public search listings, like on Google.
What does it mean if a post is public?
If there’s someone you can think of who shouldn’t see your post, don’t put it on Facebook! This is why we encourage caregivers to vent and share personal experiences in our caregiver forums or our caregiver Facebook group.
Reasons to not share personal information on Facebook:
- If you discuss someone else’s healthcare, you may be accused of HIPPA violations. Paid professional caregivers have been fired for posting patient information on Facebook.
- If you complain about a family member not helping, they may see your post and it could make the situation worse.
- If you share details of someone else’s life, they or someone they know may see it and be offended.
- If you share personal details of caregiving, people may react negatively. Posts about hygiene, mental illness, and other sensitive topics have elicited responses that were critical and unproductive.
You deserve a safe space to openly discuss what’s on your mind. Facebook is an open forum with millions of members – including bullies and scam artists. We maintain a separate website in order to create a safe space for caregivers. Facebook is a great tool, but it doesn’t cater to caregivers.
Is this post public or private?
When you look at a post, there’s a little icon next to the date and time. If you see a globe icon, the post is public:
If you see something that looks like this you’ll know it’s private:
If you place your cursor over the private icon, you can get more information about who can see the post:
In a Facebook group
A Facebook group is either closed or public. If a group is closed, people need to be approved by a moderator before they can join the group. All posts within the group are visible to group members only. It says ‘Public Group’ or ‘Closed Group’ under the name or the “about” section.
Our Facebook group is a closed group, so anything you write there is only visible to other caregivers in our community.
If a Facebook group is public, anyone can join and all posts are public.
Connecting with Facebook pages
Controlling what shows up in your newsfeed
If you ‘like’ a page on Facebook, you can still choose whether or not you want to see posts from that page in your newsfeed. If you’re ‘following’ a page, you’ll see posts from that page in your newsfeed. If you aren’t following (like in the example below), you won’t see posts from that page in your newsfeed.
Why don’t I see Caregiver Space posts in my news feed?
Where’d my post go?
I get messages from people all the time who’ve posted something to The Caregiver Space’s page and can’t figure out where it went. Most organizations and companies aren’t as eager as we are to have people post on their pages, so Facebook puts posts by anyone who isn’t a page moderator off to the side. In this screenshot, you can see where the ‘Visitor Posts’ are…way, way down at the bottom on the right side.
We want to help caregivers connect, so we’ll usually ‘share’ your posts. However, this makes it very likely that people you know will see your post, even if they don’t ‘like’ our page. This is why we share some messages and not others. We’re not trying to censor you – your original post is still there on our page – but we don’t want to draw attention to something that might be personal.
- posts asking for support
- pictures of you and the people you love
- relevant articles from a variety of sources
We don’t share:
- posts containing personal details
- posts containing medical information
- advertising, even requests for donations
Why are they ignoring my message?
You meet someone on a Facebook page who is in the same situation as you and take the time to write them a thoughtful message. And then they never respond. What happened?
It’s likely that Facebook has filtered out your message into their ‘other’ inbox. That’s Facebook’s version of a spam folder. That’s where messages end up if you’re not ‘friends’ with someone on Facebook.
Facebook has a lot of options and features which can get a little confusing. Don’t get too worried about it, though — the simplest thing is to just keep your information private.
Want to know more? Mashable has a great guide for Facebook beginners.Featured image: JaysonPhotography / Shutterstock.com