Monday, October 05, 2009

It Happened to Me -
The Facebook Faux Pas

This little confessional is along the lines of the classic “and then he hit ‘Reply All!’" water cooler story. I blew it on Facebook, and am blogging my cautionary tale in the hopes of preventing anyone else from doing the same.

A perfect storm of events had to occur for this blunder to emerge, but the confluence of these factors is not that uncommon. Basically, I invited an entire contact folder of hundreds of employment contacts and assorted email folks to cheerily, “Check out my pictures on Facebook!” These are people that I know and don’t know, peers, subordinates, superiors, vendors transmitting info, basically everyone who has ever emailed me or who I have emailed.

How did it happen? First, because of a workplace system crash, my entire system, settings and address book were backed up to an external hard drive, then rebuilt. My office did not provide external hard drives, so having a spare; I brought a partially empty drive from home into the office, and placed the work backups there.

Later, back at home, while Facebooking with my kids (competitively attempting to grow my Facebook “friends” in order to grow my Mafia and win an online FB game) I used the FB upload contacts feature. As I was scrolling through a “Contacts” folder for upload, I forgot that I had a duplicate contacts folder on my external hard drive, which is where the FB program's initial navigation had taken me.

The error was compounded by Facebook’s default posture of sending the invite to everyone. After culling the first 30 or so contacts, I used the Return key to move to the next panel of 30 contacts, and instead, sent a perky note of personal invitation to hundreds of my not so close friends in the unfiltered file.

Facebook is banned at my workplace, so sending an FB invite to work addresses is questionable at best; cheesy and ignorant at worst. So I shall live through my week of desperately seeking online friendship; and have more compassion for my teenagers’ frequent sense of embarrassment at the smallest things.

Well that’s the anatomy of the blunder. I’ve since closed down the FB account; gotten a workplace-specific external hard drive, and tipped off my bosses and IT Department about the FB Faux Pas. Looking forward to putting this one behind me. Can anyone make the clock tick faster???

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