Friday, October 19, 2007

The Facebook Factor

There seem to be a lot of people who debate when and whether to come out on Facebook. I most recently saw this on Frozen Underwear.

I currently have left the “Interested in” portion of my profile empty. A lot of people do this, especially those who like the same sex, it seems. Some might even say leaving that part out of your profile is an admission in itself…I know Joe did once on his blog. Not sure I agree, but he’s entitled to his view.

At the university I attended, there are currently seven men who say they are interested in men. I know for a fact there are more than seven gay or bi men on campus. Even Bi Boy, who was once out on Facebook, appears to have gone “back in”. I suspect it may be because potential employers may be checking, and the last thing one wants is to be outed at work before the interview.

I would love to say I will soon be coming out on Facebook. It would be a quick, easy, and relatively painless way to let people know. However, there are several reasons why I’m not:

1) The employer factor—they DO check Facebook, and it’s none of their business.
2) Family-Facebook friends include my sister and cousins…not ready to “go there” with them.
3) It’s impersonal
4) Perhaps most important-is it really the business of every one of my 400 some friends, and thousands of people in my school and regional networks to know if I’m gay or straight?

These four factors alone lead me to conclude that I will not be outing myself via Facebook anytime soon.

9 comments:

Pete said...

I flipped the switch on Facebook - nothing happened, even though I think there is some behind-the-scenes gossip.

Cody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cody said...

Woops. Forgot to add something.

Likewise. I changed it to say Men and Women a month or two ago, and nothing happened. I'm not sure if people noticed due to having lots of friends info on the home page or whatever, but nothing really happened. I felt free to do it because none of my family has a Facebook. I've since changed it to say men only, and again, nothing happened because of it. But I can totally understand your reservations.

dit said...

To be honest. it is only as big a deal as we make it to be. Everyone comes out as their own pace.

Not intending to belittle the situation, but once you come out. The shame is not as big a deal, cause you are out. Just from my experience.

Hang in there and do what you are comfortable with.

eliot said...

I'm with you.

Anonymous said...

I changed it a few weeks ago and I have not gotten any emails or comments. The roomies still treat me the same way as well.

Heck the GBU group did not even notice until I told them.

leaving the "interested in" is questionable so I kind of agree with innerJoeJoe.

Mike said...

I agree with you completely!

I believe everyone does come out at their own pace like dit says, but the fact of the matter is employers do check. I know for my internship I was screened to see that my myspace and facebook was clean. They coudln't find my myspace and there were no drinking pics or anything like that on facebook and everything looked "professional" more or less so I was hired.

Joe said...

Well, as has been said ;) , I believe that leaving it blank - while a valid and understandable option - does make your orientation obvious with the perceived 'silence'.

I would highly recommend everyone on Facebook visit your Privacy tab and crank up the security. It is possible to make it impossible to see much (your pic, name, network are the basics) without them either being in one of your networks or a friend. That way if someone tries to check you out they can only see what you want them to see (unfortunately MySpace doesn't really do privacy as well...).

When I made the change on Facebook only a few noticed, and I only had support. Remember, its usually not as bad as you think it is.

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