Facebook Etiquette, according to Dear Abby

Dear Abby, the well-known advice column, has finally dealt with the etiquette of posting photos on Facebook.

Dear Abby - December 11, 2011

In her column on December 11, 2011, Abigail van Buren responded to a reader who was concerned about photos taken of her that ended up online.

The gentle reader, who calls herself “Camera-Shy in Pennsylvania,” described her personal weight gain and hair loss that resulted in her discomfort with her photos being placed on social media sites. The central issue in her question was:

Despite any of her fears about her own body image, Camera-shy’s question is a valid one that all of us must grapple with in the new public, yet seemingly private spaces of social media. When we choose to post the images of other people, we have to be sensitive to repercussions, both positive and negative.

Abby’s answer was a common one in the social media world: “Contact the person who took and posted the picture and ask that it be taken down from the Facebook page.”

In a digital environment, we should all feel comfortable asking others to take down photos of us. In return, we should also not be offended if we are asked to remove a photo we posted of someone else. These are skills and reflections of digital and media citizenship, of being a good friend and a thoughtful user of technology.

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