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To FB or not to FB? Some ‘friend’ly advice

Updated: October 16, 2013 6:41AM



What a conve rsation!

Last week I wrote that I was thinking about quitting Facebook given that in this election season, candidates running for office can convert being a FB “friend” into what seems like a “like” or endorsement by, in my case, a political columnist.

I have “friended” a number of politicos simply to follow their posts. And though FB followers know the difference between “friend” and friend, people reading campaign literature might not see any distinction at all.

Hence, my dilemma.

You, my FB and Twitter communities, responded in large numbers with thoughtful responses. I wanted to share them with other readers. And tell you what I’ve decided.

First, your thoughts on the merits of quitting FB and moving entirely to Twitter:

Jon Kavanaguh: “There really should be some shades of gray for Facebook. Not necessarily 50, but at least: Like; Like with Endorsement; Don’t Like But Want to Follow the Discussion; Dislike with Vehemence.”

David Fagus: “No. I always read your work when I see it on Facebook. Even with an online subscription I only look at your columns, (and everyone else’s at the S-T), a couple of times in a month at most.
. . . It will weaken your influence and decrease your overall readership.”

JJ Tindall: “I think you should definitely stay on Twitter, for that ‘asymmetrical’ angle. FB keeps changing its rules and parameters, less easy to control.”

Darryl DuPont: “Don’t be so quick to endorse Twitter . . . it is a land of propaganda, 1939 Germany would have loved Twitter and how to sway public opinion with misinformation.”

Linda Hudson: “HELL NO, DON’T GO!”

Elizabeth Kennedy: “Yes, I think you should. I am thinking of leaving FB also. So very tired of all the ever-changing policies on privacy, the non-stop ads, and well . . . everything! . . . I really know nothing about Twitter but now my curiosity is piqued. . . . And then maybe I would also keep up with friends the old fashioned way . . . you know, that thing called the telephone?”

Joseph Wenzel: “Good column, tough choice. I would miss your columns, but respect whatever choice you make.”

Carol Vieth: “FB definitions are a problem. Yesterday, I found myself ‘liking’ an article about chicken nuggets from China. (Well, not exactly).”

Brian Bernardoni: “Rethink how you use it; don’t quit it.”

The overwhelming response I got was to stay on FB. But like many of you, I have reservations about how FB manipulates “likes” and privacy.

For now, I’m sticking with it. But relying more on Twitter as well where, unlike FB, you can “follow” without requiring the person you follow to “follow” you.

The anger I hear among FB users about ever-changing privacy settings and about how “likes” pop up for things they never “liked” should make FB sit up a bit straighter in its megabillion-dollar chair. We’ll see about that.

But please, let’s keep this discussion going.

I’ve learned a thing to two.

Thank you all so much.

Email: cmarin@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CarolMarin



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