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Burriss on Media: Facebook Timeline

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) --  There’s an old, old saying that you can run but you can’t hide. And a corollary for the Internet age is that you shouldn’t post anything anywhere that you wouldn’t want you grandmother to see.

So here’s the issue: Facebook is about to make it a whole lot easier for anyone in the world, and that includes your grandmother and potential employer, to find those old photographs of you falling down drunk. One side of the argument says Facebook should be more respectful of our privacy. The other side says you posted the pictures, you deal with the consequences.

Over the years social media providers have tried to sneak changes by consumers, which, in almost every case, made supposedly private information more readily available to anyone who wanted it. In most cases, the policies were cancelled or changed. At least, we think they were.

Now, Facebook is about to make every photograph and writing you’ve ever posted easier for anyone to get to. It is also true the service has provided ways to opt out or modify the so-called “Timeline,” but there will always be that mythical 10 percent who never get the word, and will then cry the loudest about invasions of privacy and the distribution of embarrassing information.

And here’s a somewhat new twist: there are applications you can get for your phone or computer that will automatically add information to Facebook. In other words, service providers are becoming more and more linked. Which means anyone with access to your Facebook page can tell where you are, what you are buying and even what you are eating.

Sure, there are ways of opting out of all of these connections, but they require a positive action on your part. All of which means you need to think twice about what you sign up for and who you can link to.

So to use another cliché that fits the Internet: if you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime.

I’m Larry Burriss.