SM 101: Proper Facebook Netiquette
In this realm of social media – you are no more than what you put make public. Sometimes you just need to be reminded.
netiquette |ˈnetəkit; -ˌket| noun
the correct or acceptable way of communicating on the Internet.
ORIGIN 1990s: blend of net 1 and etiquette .
Facebook or FAKEbook?
It’s somewhat harsh to think about, but we are living in a “Pinterest Perfect world,” where our lives are all made up of beautiful food, hilarious kids, perfectly decorated houses and amazing bento-box lunches. Social media has given us a chance to put out the persona of us at our best and brightest – but let’s be honest, that’s not real life.
A while back I wrote up a few thoughts on Facebook really being “FAKEbook,” and really that hasn’t changed. More than ever, I stand by my stance that if you think you know someone based on Facebook status updates, think again.
Pictures that have been chosen because they are the most flattering angle and then photoshopped or edited. Check-in’s at fab parties, restaurants or airports as you are jetting off for a week in Hawaii. People normally are not checking in a McDonalds, for the 3rd time that week because they can’t bear to cook dinner.
I’m always getting “Wow, you are always having so much fun!” from people who “know me” from my Facebook updates. Yes, I may have gotten a few good pictures from that trip to Moab, but I wasn’t posting about my kids whining and fighting the whole way up the trail. Take it all with a grain of salt…
So in this digital friend space, how does one make sure they are authentic and real? Here are a few things to think about when spending time in Twitter/Tumblr/Instagram/Facebook-land.
Are you being true to yourself?
If you read your updates, do you think that this is an accurate portrayal of you? Are the things you are stating really the way you think and believe? Are you quoting scripture but haven’t been to church in years? Stop and think about what you post – if you said that to your best friend, would she laugh in your face and say “Uh huh.. sure…” Bragging is fine – we all do it, just be sure you are being honest in your brags.
Don’t be a Buzz Kill
We all have a few of them in our lists. The people whose stream of bummer comments makes you want to jump off a bridge. Occasionally noting that your kids have now been sick for 2 weeks and you want to pull out all your hair is one thing, but if every comment you post is negative, people will get sick of you.
We will hover our cursor over the right hand corner of a status update and “hide” your stream of negativity. People go through crappy times in their lives; we all have true grief, anger and frustration and it helps to vent it and get virtual support from your network during these times. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about people that are going through a serious illness, or dealing with the loss of a loved one – those are the people that need you and the people in their lives to help them through and check on them, just like you would do with any friend in a slump.
What I’m talking about here are the Debbie Downers, the people that can’t put anything positive up and after reading their updates you literally hear a “sad trombone” in the background. Stop it, because really….
No One Really Cares
Sorry, but it’s true. I would guess 95% of what goes up on Facebook is stuff that no one else really cares about. I’m not changing the world with my updates and pictures and if I didn’t put them up people wouldn’t have a gaping hole in their lives. So why are we doing it?
Think about the last Facebook posting that you can still remember. I bet it was a link to an interesting article or on of George Takai’s funny images. Now there is the 5% of things that people DO care about. That includes births, engagements/weddings, celebrity sightings, really exciting news and huge milestones.
And while I know that every other picture I post is one of my adorable children, I know that the only person that really, truly cares about that picture is my mother. And while people that happen to be online when I post it may hit “like” or leave a nice comment, I also know that me posting that picture of my son’s new haircut isn’t going to change your life.
I also know that if it didn’t happen to be on the top of your news feed at that very moment, you probably would never have even seen it. My mom is always telling me things about one of her best friend’s life that she posts on Facebook but I never see. But my mom has 100 friends and I have over 800… It’s the whole “If a tree falls in the forest” thing – if I didn’t see your post, then I didn’t know it happened. NEVER assume anyone knows anything about your life just because you posted online.
Don’t be a stalker… or a lurker
Social media is modern day voyeurism, a glimpse into the lives of others. Many people are weary of it because of the creepy people out there – just looking, collecting information but never noting they are there. It’s tricky and a fine line. You don’t want to be an over commenter, but never saying anything, just lurking in the shadows.. people, that’s just plain creepy. Comment and Like as you see fit, but being a straight up lurker just isn’t cool.
Don’t come in my house and piss on my floor
I think of a people’s pages/streams/posts as their personal space. It’s an online spot to share their thoughts and opinions, and I treat it like that. We ALL don’t agree with everyone 100% of the time, but unless someone is asking for my opinion, I don’t really give it. Friendly, spirited debates are one thing, but raining on someone’s parade is never okay. If someone is thrilled that a particular proposition just got elected into action, that’s not my invitation to spout off – on their page – on why it should have never passed. I save my rants, and snarky comments, for my page, not my friends and relatives’.
Lastly, remember that NOTHING YOU EVER PUT ANYWHERE ONLINE IS EVER PRIVATE. Randi Zuckerburg getting all righteous about someone sharing one of her pictures made me hopping mad. If you wouldn’t want everyone you know from your boss, to your grandmother to your child’s kindergarten teacher seeing it, then DON’T post it, share it, comment on it or email it. I don’t care if it’s a private forum or you are private messaging your BFF from elementary school – if you put it out there, you run the risk of it being seen.
So now you are armed and prepped to play in the online playground. So go make that mason jar craft and share the hell outta’ it.
Disclosure: On occasion, contributors of The Trend Tribe receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence the contributor’s point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the reviewers experience. The opinions are their own. Photos credits: The New Oxford American Dictionary.