Yesterday, I shared my Facebook story.
Today, I will outline some basic “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for Facebook users. I may not be Miss Manners herself (I always forget where to put the salad fork and the dessert fork, for example), but I do know a thing or two about etiquette. And, unfortunately, common sense and good old-fashioned courtesy are often painfully lacking in Facebook Town.
Here’s how to be a friend-able and mannerly Facebook user:
1. DO choose your friends wisely (or create a friends feed). Facebook isn’t a race to see who can get the most friends. In fact, the more “friends” you have, the less likely it is that you will be able to have meaningful conversations with them. Not to mention the fact that there is no way you can keep up with the updates of hundreds of friends unless you whittle your life away on Facebook (which I certainly don’t recommend).
There are two ways to handle this predicament:
(A) Keep your friend list to a minimum. Do you really have to add every single person from your childhood, high school, neighborhood, etc? Do you really want to? Please note that it’s perfectly okay and acceptable to ignore someone’s friend request. They won’t even know that you did…
(B) Set up a second feed, specifically for people that you want to follow. That way, you can “keep tabs” on a select group of people that you choose, but you can still have hundreds of “friends.” To set up a second list, click “more” on your left sidebar. Then, go to “Create New List,” add the people you want to follow, and you’re all set.
2. DO send a message when you request a new friend. You searched for your best friend in 6th grade and – lo and behold! – you found her! Before you send a blind request, take a minute to say something in the request: “Hi! Remember how we built that clubhouse in my backyard and sold lemonade for 5 cents a cup? I’d love to catch up with you!” Leaving a personal message is the friendly and respectful thing to do. Plus, there’s always a slight possibility that the other party might need a little “memory nudge.” Hypothetically speaking, of course. I’m sure YOU are completely unforgettable.
3. DO edit and select your photos before uploading. It never ceases to amaze me when I see people add hundreds of photos to their Facebook accounts – apparently without stopping to even look through them. It’s almost as if they just plug in their camera and send all their photos without blinking.
Facebook users routinely post pictures that are random, blurry, unflattering, and embarrassing of their friends and family members…and of themselves. I really don’t get it. Do yourself (and others) a favor and do a little “quality control.”
When you’re ready to add your photos, select only your favorites. For example, let’s say you recently got married or had a baby or celebrated your son’s fifth birthday. Choose your top pictures from the event. People will want to see them, to be sure. BUT that doesn’t mean that they will want to click through hundreds of photos. Keeping that in mind, choose your photos sparingly and showcase your best ones to ensure that they are actually seen.
4. DON’T post pictures of other people without permission (especially ugly pictures). Posting photos on Facebook is kind of the 21st century way of sticking photos in albums. And you certainly didn’t have to ask permission back then to add pictures of family and friends, did you? Well, no.
BUT the photos you post on FB will be instantly available for hundreds of people to see (and, potentially, steal). So, it might be courteous to ask permission. Or, if not, at least be thoughtful enough to consider if a picture is becoming or not. If someone’s eyes are closed or their bra straps are showing or they look three sizes bigger than they really are, PLEASE don’t publish that photo. The Golden Rule is as relevant on Facebook as anywhere else: Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.
5. DON’T take every quiz available on Facebook and post your results. What’s that, you say? You like taking those FB quizzes and playing those addicting FB games? I definitely don’t, but everyone has their own hobbies (who am I to judge?).
That said, do you really have to PUBLISH all of your results? Really? I so don’t need to know that you are movin’ up in FarmVille or that the 1960’s is the decade that fits your personality best or what kind of guy you are most compatible with (and I’m a little confused why you’re taking that quiz anyway if you’re married…). Publishing a particularly interesting quiz every once in a great while is acceptable, but not every day (or multiple times a day).
So, there you have it. A basic guide to Facebook etiquette.
Facebook has the potential to be a fun and useful tool to build relationships and stay connected with friends/family, but – as with everything else in life – moderation is key and…it’s important to “mind your manners.”
YOUR TURN: What “do’s” and “don’ts” would you add?