I was listening to the NPR show, Science Friday today (May 21st, 2010).
It was a little spooky. Lawyers looking at your Facebook page? Don't go to court and say, I don't own a gun, I don't drink and I haven't hit my wife when you have Facebook photos of you with a gun and a tattoo (this man had to show his tattoo in court proving it was him in the photo on Facebook), and you show yourself smoking illegal drugs (one case discussed) or bragging about doing something you claim in court you didn't do. Basically, these people are just stupid.
For the most of us, its not a big deal. But it IS important to realize, that you have more exposure in these ways than you may think. A potential employer may check out your page and it could cost you a job; your current employer could do the same and suddenly you could be out of a job.
So I would advise you to take a listen to this show and simply use common sense. Use privacy options on Facebook, only show family, or friends most things. But even then, due to some of these applications your friends/family use, you may be exposed in ways you don't realize.
Another thing you can do, is to have two Facebook pages, using two separate email accounts. Let one wide open if you desire. But make the other one, private only to family and close friends. Its a little more work but if you think about it, you really do have a different orientation for family and acquaintances. Just remember to be careful about your public profile.
Think about it, do famous people put their address, phone numbers, etc., online for any one to use? No. And you should realize that you don't have to actually put out an address or phone number, for someone to find you. Or, your social security number, which is really scary. After all, Identity Theft has NOT gone away. It doesn't take that much innocuous information, for someone to track down your social security number and abuse it to the point of you having ongoing and continuously serious legal or financial issues.
So, hang out, have fun, but be careful and use your mind.
Analyst and CEO, Securosis
Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies
Associate, Center for Information Policy Research
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Author, "Lowering The Bar" blog
Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon
San Francisco, California
Science Friday about "Online Privacy"
Also, consider any online social site as a possibility for issues to crop up, like Twitter where 8 were arrested for Tweets. Take a look at thirteen tweets, overshares, "jokes," and opinionated tweets have gotten people arrested.