Whitewalling : How much do you share?

Whitewalling the Internet

This past weekend at the Como Social Media Club Facebook Camp, I learned a new term that has quickly become the buzzword I over use: Whitewalling. Urban dictionary defines white walling as “Immediately removing all traces of likes, comments, and other junk from your Facebook wall so that people you’re “friends” with (95 percent of whom you dislike and just have to accept to maintain decorum in work and family relationships) can’t track you, judge you, know anything about who you are or what you are doing or who’s involved in your life. usage: Whitewalling allows Roger to maintain control over his online identity.”

Though I haven’t gone as far as to start removing every thing posted on my wall, I have been slowly removing personal info. As I work towards making a profession out of my social media hobby, the amount of information that was on there seemed like an over share. Especially when it seems like every single person I know wants to be my Facebook friend.

Let’s face it, my personal beliefs are out of the norm and though I am not in anyway ashamed of them I didn’t necessarily want them to be my first introduction to someone. I wouldn’t walk up to someone I met once or twice and tell them my political and religious beliefs. And while I don’t mind my high school classmates knowing I have twins, I don’t necessarily want them perusing baby pictures of them either.

I often joke to people that Facebook is for things I don’t want to hear from people I know and Twitter is for things I do want to hear from people I don’t know. But it’s true.  Facebook was once a way for me to get back in contact with old friends. Now it’s just another sanitized version of myself.  Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that I trust strangers with my thoughts more than I trust my neighbors.

So how about you?
Do you whitewall or do you put it all out there?


  1. This is really interesting. I’m kind of a lay-it-all-out-there person, so I haven’t felt the need to do this. Although there are a *few* people on FB I only became friends with for the reasons you stated. I haven’t really caught on to Twitter yet, I’m afraid. Weirdness: I really expected the overlap to be much more than it is between those two sets of connections!

  2. Kate – I totally understand the concern. For a very long time, I only followed strangers on Twitter. When they’d friend me on Facebook, I’d send them an apology note and say I couldn’t friend them until we have a chance to meet face to face. These days I’ve changed my policy but I’ve built very specific lists in Facebook where certain sets of people I don’t know are whitewalled from my posts. In the meantime, I continue to share pictures and personal anedotes on Facebook that I’d never share on Twitter.

  3. Back in the days of WeddingChannel.com message boards and then LiveJournal I made a decision that the “me” I put out to the world would be as authentic as I could make it without making anyone I loved feel uncomfortable about the information I was sharing. Today, everything I put on FB, Twitter and our blog is stuff that I’m okay with anyone knowing. I’ve come to accept who I am and what my belief system means to me but I also understand that I use FB and Twitter for professional purposes as well and so sometimes I do need to sanitize my online presence a bit. I try to keep true to who I am and what my ideals are (for instance, I have no problem tweeting and retweeting about corrupt politicians or the idiocy that is Sarah Palin) but I try to swear a bit less than I do in real life. During the election I posted on our blog about Sarah Palin and how she couldn’t run her own family and I got some heat from readers. At first I thought, “wow, maybe I shouldn’t have posted that – I do have a lot of people checking out the blog from all walks of life and I don’t want to offend anyone.” Then I said eff it, if they didn’t like what I was posting they didn’t have to read it. From that moment on, I’ve adopted a “this is me” stance with the blog. Since leaving my job at the agency, I’ve also become a bit more brash in the things that I’m willing to post because my thoughts can no longer be reflective of the company I work for. Since I won’t be using FB and Twitter for professional purposes anymore, I’m also looking forward to reclaiming my authentic self on those mediums. It looks like I’m going in the opposite direction of you. 😀

  4. Wow, I know this is an old post, but you nailed it in that last paragraph! I whitewalled before I realized other people did it too, now it has a name and it’s getting media coverage as a thing that silly teenagers do… but it’s also a really interesting commentary on the unnatural way we store our thoughts indefinitely on sites like Facebook.

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