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November 28, 2008

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I joined Facebook because I figured future employers would want to google me, and I wanted to control what they found! I never, no, neh-hever agree to pokes, good karma, drinkz, games, or datebooks, because I resent the intrusion into my address book and profile. And I am careful who I befriend. So far, these policies haven't offended a soul.

@Pam: Those were my reasons for joining LinkedIn, which appeared to be the grown-up version of Facebook. But I have heard that Silicon Valley companies are as likely to set up shop on Facebook as on LinkedIn.

Poking is an abomination. It's pointless. It's passive-aggressive. If you want to get in touch with me via Facebook, send me a note or write on my wall or comment on my status. Poking says nothing more than "here's my name." I don't understand why people use it.

One cool thing about Facebook is getting to see who your friends are friends with, and clicking on some of those people's friend lists. One of my friends is friends with writer Rick Moody, who in turn is friends with Harold Bloom. Another of my friends got a comment on his status from an Entertainment Weekly writer whose byline I've seen for years. Another friend who was in a documentary friended the film's sales agent, whose Facebook friends include Yoko Ono and Bob Dylan (and he probably really does know these people). It's fun to see how many degrees of separation I am from the lit- and glitterati.

@Orange: HAROLD BLOOM is on Facebook?? Okay, now I'm seriously (oops, srsly) rethinking this.

I second pam & Orange. I never accept applications and don't return pokes. Very quickly your Facebook page can turn into a Reno motel lobby.

First, you need to decide if you would be doing it for professional reasons or personal reasons, or some hybrid of the two. For me, it's a hybrid. I have a couple clients on there, and people I know through networking, and it's interesting to see their personalities come through. It's a bit more personal than LinkedIn.

That personal quality is what makes Facebook tricky because it's hard to divide my personal self from my professional self. All my friends in real life are my friends on Facebook. Unlike Twitter or my blog, which none of my friends has any interest in.

So, if you do decide to enter the Facebook time suck vortex, the very first thing you should do is get to know your privacy settings. I have it so that if anyone tags me in a photo, no one else can see that photo but me. (So when my friend took a picture of me pretending to kiss the corpse in the Halloween store, Harold Bloom and everyone in my feed doesn't get to see it.)

Also, I remove wall posts and comments from others' feeds. This is probably gibberish to you right now... but it helps to avoid any potential embarrassments when your friends write on your wall.

It's definitely worth 10 minutes of your time a week. That's about the maximum dose I can take.

@Kelly: Thanks for that excellent explanation. Very helpful. I may be able to spare 10 minutes a week.

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