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How to present yourself on Facebook

Just like the web, Facebook is constantly changing. I'm old enough to remember the web when it was a very dark and horrible place. There really were no rules, and people posted nasty things, and hid behind anonymous *avatars*. Many still do, but times are changing.

If you're new to Facebook, you have to ask yourself how you want others to see how. And unless you have a reason to hide behind a mask, my advice is to present yourself just as you are, in public.

As tempting as it may seem to create some type of artificial *alter ego* on Facebook, I would recommend that you reserve that type of thinking for a role-playing game, or something like that. Facebook is as much your face to the world as when you go into a grocery store, or walk into business meeting, or meet with friends at a restaurant.

The best advice that I've ever gotten, from going on dates to job interviews is to *be yourself*. And you know, you are a good person. Maybe not perfect - remember that time when you got a parking ticket? - but who is? And although Facebook isn't as public a place as Google+, my advice would be to follow their example. Here is what I recommend:

• Show your face and use your name. Get a good photo and stick with it. Facebook is a visual medium, and if you're hiding behind a chicken mask, you're not only gonna creep everyone out, you're going to make it difficult for people to quickly recognize you. If you're in the habit of wearing a chicken mask to the grocery store, or when you go out to restaurants, by all means show a picture of a chicken head on your Facebook profile. If not, don't.

• Be yourself. Sure, people won't like you if, for example, you are a proponent of being kind to animals. But that's their problem, not yours. People who understand the concept of freedom of speech know that they may not agree with what you say, but they will defend your right to say it. Personally, I think dachshunds are the greatest dogs in the world, but I will defend your right to praise, for example, poodles.

The web can still be a dark and scary place. But I've seen it getting better. Stand up, be yourself, and speak your mind. I, for one, will defend your right to do so, and you may find that a lot of other people will, too.