Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Secrets to Using Facebook

These days Facebook is where the action is when it comes to needlepoint.  There are groups on Facebook dedicated to needlepoint, to counted canvas, to buying or selling unwanted needlepoint items, to needlepoint finishing, and to even complaining about various needlepoint-related things.  Shops and designers have Facebook pages where they show off their latest designs, talk about trunk shows, changes in their hours and anything else a customer might want to know.  Some shops don't even have a website but use their Facebook page as a defacto website.

Of course Facebook is in the news for allowing all sorts of folks to harvest data about us to use in various ways.  They even use our photos for their facial recognition programs.  Basically Facebook is selling us to anyone willing to pay.  That offends a lot of people.  Facebook also is not really secure, which also offends folks.  It's very difficult to control who sees what you post.  Even secret groups are not secure.  We've even had people who are not members of my group able to comment on postings from members because the members shared their message on their personal page where non-group members who are friended with the person can see and comment on them.

Facebook is also very buggy.  I get messages all the time from folks who want to know why I deleted their message posted to Needlepoint Nation (a group I accidentally founded*).  Nine times out of ten no one running the group deleted their message.  It just isn't there because of a glitch or is buried in a flurry of newer messages.  Facebook's search engine is laughable.  Last week I wasn't able to edit any message I posted, then mysteriously I was able to again.  The constant updates to the software cause a lot of issues to mysteriously happen—then mysteriously disappear again.

So what do you do to keep yourself secure if you want to set up a Facebook account to be part of the needlepoint things going on?  First, accept that everything you post is going to be public.  My group, Needlepoint Nation, is a public group, which means anyone with a Facebook account will be able to see what is said there.  Non-members can't comment (with the exception listed above) but everyone can see messages.  And remember, even secret groups are only as secret as the members keep it.  I get screen shots or verbal descriptions of what is going on in secret groups all the time.

Secondly, when you set up a Facebook page for yourself, limit what you put there.  No birthdates, no schools attended, don't say where you live or work, anything like that.  I personally don't even post photographs of myself or other people.

Thirdly, once you have that page set up with absolutely the minimum required, set your permissions so that they are as restricted as possible.  This section from Facebook will help.

Fourth, don't "friend" anyone unless you must.  They can see what you post and all their friends can, too.  Post about an upcoming birthday party and all your friends can share that information with their friends.  Most of the time, folks do this without thinking.  So keep those friends list as small as you can.

Fifth, don't use your Facebook account to sign into anything else.  If you use your Facebook account to log into things like Skype, Gmail, games, etc., you are just giving the company more access to your information.  It's wise not to play any Facebook games, either.  Or use your Facebook account to  log into a game you play on your phone or tablet.

If you follow the items above, you should be relatively safe.  There are no guarantees, though!

Just head to, set up an account (don't use a fake name—Facebook really really REALLY hates that and will close the account when they catch it if you can't produce ID with "Joe Needlepoint" on it), then use the search bar at the top of the page to find needlepoint groups.  Mine is called

But there are plenty of others, like Counted Canvas Needlepoint for those who do a lot of charted work, Needlepoint Covered Christmas Trees, even Needlepoint Complaints (really).  Just poke around a little and find a group that looks interesting.  Read the Description.  That will tell you a lot about the group and alert you to any rules they may have.  Be cautious and have fun!

*Needlepoint Nation is proof God has a real sense of humor.  How else can you explain my accidentally founding the largest needlepoint group in Facebook when I really don't like using it?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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© Copyright May 15, 2018 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.