Last week New York hired its first Digital Chief Officer, 27-year-old web startup founder Rachel Sterne. As most folks do with good news these days, Sterne posted the appointment to her Facebook page, and began collecting the comments and accolades from her Facebook friends. Which ended up in the Wall Street Journal later that day, accompanying a story about her hiring. By the next day though, that page had become off-limits after Sterne went in and beefed up her security settings.
I certainly can’t blame her for wanting to keep her Facebook page personal, especially after taking on such a visible job in the biggest city in the US. I can only imagine the messages she got from people looking for help on any and everything related to New York. What is more shocking is that her page was public in the first place. And even more surprising is that she would take steps to cover that up after accepting the job. While seeing it quoted in the Wall Street Journal is jarring, lots of other notable figures have public settings on their pages and use them to connect with their friends, people in similar industries, and other “fans.” And even though her Facebook page is private, Twitter users can still connect with her at @rachelsterne.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember with Facebook, Twitter, or any other social network is that its up to each person to decide how to use it. As the WSJ article noted, a city spokesman said she “will be working on creating appropriate forums for feedback on public matters. Her personal Facebook page is for her and her friends.” Indeed it is.