Anabel, such a sweet girl. I’ve watched Anabel grow from a blurry black and white 3 month scan picture to a bubbly cute toddler in the last 4 years. I’ve seen all the ups and downs; her first steps, her first words, her crying face as she’s left at playgroup. And I’ve seen her parents to grow from; young, vibrant, excited first time parents to slightly older, a lot more tired-looking adults. Funny thing is, I’ve never ever met Anabel and I don’t even know her parents.
Anabel’s mum tags her partner’s sister ‘Lucy’ in every photo of Anabel she uploads to Facebook (FB), it’s their way of making sure her aunt can watch her grow up from afar. Anabel’s aunt is my old school friend, and every time she is tagged, that photo comes up on my timeline too “Lucy has been tagged in…”.
Now, Lucy and I probably haven’t spoken since school and I doubt we will, the only reason we are still FB friends is just out of some weird curiosity to know what each other is doing, (though we don’t really care), we all have those “friends”, right? But how many of those friends, (because I’m pretty sure the majority of mine and Lucy’s ‘mutual friends’) are also from school and have a similar relationship that we do (none).
Anabel’s mum is trying to do something nice but she’s blissfully going about it in the wrong way, if I have watched Anabel grow up, who else has? I think we can all remain safe in the knowledge that I along with most will do absolutely nothing with this, it’s a minor bleep on my radar and frankly I just find it a little irritating, however, if I was looking closely I most definitely will be able to work out what school/nursery she goes to, what she does and doesn’t like, what they get up to at the weekends, who picks her up from school and so on. All that is of absolutely no interest to me, but then it only takes one unsafe person to get access to this information.
Even if your Facebook is set to private, if you tag a friend in a post, you open that post up to all their friends too. You may well feel very safe in the knowledge that all of your Facebook friends are fine, but can you say that about the person your tagging?
“Do you need to tag?”
Facebook was trialling a new feature so that when you post a status, picture or whatever, it sends a notification to your selected friends to let them know you have done so, guaranteeing they will see it, or at least get a notification telling them to. I thought this was quite a good idea and would perhaps be a better alternative for parents wanting to share pictures of their kids in this way. Unfortunately I’m not sure that it got past the trailing stage so we will have to think of something else, but for now, just be mindful of what tagging actually does, is a tag necessary?
I’ve obviously changed all the names in this so “Lucy” won't freak out, but I swear it’s real and “Anabel” isn’t even the only one. The odd picture is fine, even funny sometimes, no-one’s going to build up a profile of your child through a few random photos on Facebook, but when you’re naively sending out a daily account of that child’s life to a lot of people you don’t know, you’re making it A LOT easier.