Facebook is not going anywhere soon. It is anticipated that it will treble in the next three years. Mark Zuckerberg is the best paid CEO in the world. Facebook rocks! (I know that some people will disagree with me, but stay with me for now).
The biggest fear Facebook users have is the fear of identity theft. There has been a little bit of that in the last year, but if a friend asks you to friend them again - be wise and let your friend know that there is someone else posing as them. Hoaxes are also big. Instead of instilling fear and spreading warnings, check whether it is a hoax by googling it. The bulldog is a good option for this.
There are currently three things that you cannot privatise on Facebook. They are your profile picture (or all previous profile pictures - i.e. that album), your cover pictures (and all previous cover pictures - i.e. that album), and, of course, your name.
Other than that, Facebook can be as watertight as a duck's arse. You can lock your profile down so that only your friends can see it. You can set all your posts to "friends only" - "public" allows everyone to see it. A neat little trick is that you can also set up groups like "acquaintances" and post to "friends, but not acquaintances".
I like that one! The political discourses around friending people are huge. If someone asks to friend you and you say no, it is a big diss. A polite fix is to add them to the acquaintances list and post to "friends, but not acquaintances" when you don't want them to be privy to certain issues. As a therapist who doesn't want patients knowing about some personal details that might influence the therapeutic relationship, this works for me.
The big shock is when someone un-friends you. Say you remember it is a friend's birthday and go onto Facebook to wish her and can't find her. She has un-friended you! Perhaps she didn't like a position you took. Not cool! What you can do is hide the posts of people who consistently post issues that offend you - for good. I find uncompromising radical left and right positions uncomfortable and some people who consistently post what my dad would have called "Jesus-speak" and nothing else, have been put into this category. See? No impolite un-friending and you don't have to tolerate posts you don't appreciate that make you uncomfortable.
Then comes "blocking" - the biggest diss of all. Suddenly you can't even find someone's profile because not only have they un-friended you, they have also blocked you. Sometimes there might have been a huge fight so it might be understandable, but when you are suddenly blocked and you have ab-so-lute-ly no idea why, it can feel quite disheartening.
What I did find out about blocking when I did block two people, was that you don't see the person's profile, they don't see yours and they don't see any of your posts (and vica versa) even if you are commenting on the same post. They have disappeared into a black hole. What I realised was that people I have blocked, can be invited to the same function as me, and because you essentially don't exist to one another in the Facebook-sphere, there may be a few awkward moments when you arrive at the same event... Solution: I un-blocked them - you can usually see all those invited to an event, who has accepted, and who has declined.
If someone is profoundly inappropriate in a discussion over a post, Facebook does give you the option to hide the post as well as send them a message to them to say that you have hidden their post on your wall because you found it offensive. Try that before you report hate speak to Facebook. People get angry at times - give them a chance to make it right.
Generally, remember that what goes onto a social networks stays on a social networks! This does not only apply to Facebook. Remember that petty disputes and barneys (not of the purple kind) are best left to non-public and unrecorded means.
Happy Facebooking... See your productivity decline...