Thursday, June 30, 2011

Face the truth about Facebook

Facebook has been an interesting part of my life for more than five years now. I head about it at Winthrop, when I went as a high school senior to visit, and I signed up the second I got my email address as an incoming freshman that summer. I was the very first person from my high school to get a page, and the only one for a while. Back then, Facebook was only available through “.edu” email addresses, leaving it a social network for college and university students and staff alone. I friended hall mates, class mates, and the random new friends I made each day as I began my life in Rock Hill. I truly did feel like I was “networking” with the people I met. Things have changed, though. While I do appreciate being able to connect on Facebook with my parents, aunts, uncles, and others who would not be on Facebook if it was still exclusive to the college crowd, I can say a lot of the riff-raff that is plaguing my news feed now would be a non-issue. Since my Daddy just recently joined Fb, I gave him a quick tutorial on how it worked, and it dawned on me recently that there are quite a number of people who need a good tutorial in Facebook etiquette.
So for them, and mostly to vent my frustration with some of the folks I know, here is my list of Facebook Dos and Don’ts.
-Applications
Applications have to be the stupidest thing on Facebook. It shows, like the “inexclusivity,” that in the end, Fb is all about the dolla-dolla bills. Most applications on Facebook are crap, and more than likely, you’re gonna end up hacked… posting all kinds of spam on your friends’ walls. Now I understand that some people enjoy games. While I have NEVER been one of those people, I get it that online games like Mahjong tiles and solitaire are enjoyable to some. But guys? There’s plenty of game websites OFF Fb, so just use those! If you must use the Fb game apps, at least, for Pete’s sake, change your password often so I don’t get spammy crap all over my wall, and DO NOT send out invitations. No one cares about your fake farm, zoo, mafia, or fashion club. Jeez. Oh, and the same exact thing can be said about quizzes! No one cares! Quit wasting your life and do something!
-Relationships
Now, this has never been much of an issue on my page, but I’ve heard drama stories about Fb relationship statuses. I was looking on YouTube and found this video that perfectly sums up the dos and don’ts of relationships statues. Over all, just talk it out before you change your status. And for the sake of your friends, DO NOT blast crap about your ex all over Fb. What you post there is free for the world to see. You may think “Who cares? I want the world to know what a blank-blank-blank he/she is!” but really, how does that reflect on you as a person? Who would want to date or even be your friend if you turn that ugly when faced with conflict? Be classy. Be graceful. If you have some beef with someone, deal with it like an adult in person, instead of using Fb as a glorified, online bathroom wall. The same goes for friendships. Talk it out.
-Adding and Subtracting Friends
Don’t add random people. You need to at least know them or have mutual friends, and don’t assume that just because you have someone in common, you should add them. Unless you actually have heard of one another on multiple occasions or have been introduced, friending someone you aren’t really friends with gives you creeper status.
People who just unfriend someone whenever they get ticked off have the same thing going as the little kids on the playground who said, “Humph! I’m not gonna be your friend anymore!” after every petty thing. If you truly want to unfriend someone, do it because you really are no longer friends, but understand that if you see this person regularly, it’s gonna be awkward.
Also, don't just add people just to stalk them-it's obvious. And it’s another one of those creeper things.
-Photos
Social rules regarding Facebook Photos are rules you think would be common sense, but alas…
Don’t post unflattering or unsavory pictures of anyone, or yourself for that matter. That picture you took at so-and-so’s party when you were three sheets to the wind does not need to plastered on the news feed of all your friends. If you think that makes you look cool or “hard” then  you need to reevaluate your priorities and do some growing up. Also, bathing suit look-at-my-body shots, lifted-shirt-to-show-my-abs-in-the-bathroom-mirror shots and pictures of you in your underwear are not appropriate. Under no circumstance.
Don't tag, unless it’s a posed, group shot. Otherwise, let people tag themselves if they like. It is especially wrong to tag someone when the picture is unflattering. (See above!) Be aware that all kinds of people, from the lady that sits behind you at church to your friend’s aunt will see them!
Beware of TMI... people will judge you for it, like it or not. Some things (100 albums of your dog, a photo every stage of pregnancy, right down to the morning sickness vomit all the way to baby's first poop, etc.) are just too much. Some things are great to share, but don’t over do it.
-Pokes
Never randomly poke someone. It’s one of those things that people don’t know how to take. Flirting? Frustration? Need to talk? Random poker = creeper. And really, what’s the point? In the words of John Mayer, say what you mean to say.
Wall-posts, Statuses, and Comments
if you don't like what someone else says on his or her page, either hide them, or unfriend them. It’s hard for me to tolerate people who post beliefs that are contrary to what I know is right in my heart as a born-again Christian, but can’t (and shouldn’t) control how other people feel or choose to express themselves. I can, however, hide it from my view. Just hide the posts from the folks you feel socially obligated to remain friends with yet offend you. There’s no need for arguing on Fb, about anything really.
Also, if you post religious or political statuses, be sensitive to others. Granted, it's your page and they can either hide or unfriend you, but still, be aware that many people don’t have the couth to personally discuss an offending status in an adult way, so expect backlash. If it happens, just delete the post and either unfriend the person, or talk to them in person.
Save drama for real life, Again, we don’t need a glorified bathroom wall.
Don't spread gossip. It’s wrong online, just as much as it’s wrong any other way.
Save your anger for something other than Facebook. Again, be aware of who will see your words and how they reflect who you are.
Use messages for more personal discussions, such as feelings, beliefs, plans/events. Wall posts are public.
Beware of overshares. No one needs to know about the thickness of your cervix, the amount of vomit you’ve expelled, and unless you are ultra-selective with your friends, even your address or location may be too much to put out there. Check-ins go right along with
this. Unless you are comfortable giving each of your Facebook friends a key to your home, don’t. Checking in tells them where you are, and when you’re not at home. And checking in at home not only looks a little pathetic (come on, you KNOW you have better things to do), it gives all your friends a map to your house. Not very smart if you friend requested the guy you met yesterday and checked in at the mall later on, letting this proverbial stranger know exactly where you live, and then telling him you’re not home!
Offensive posts with the f-word or posts about “getting your drink on” doesn't make you seem cool, nor does the incoherent artsy, illusive gibberish some people post have any more value. “What’s on your mind?” is a question meant to stimulate conversation amongst friends, not the opposite.
-Profile Banners and Nonsense Nicknames
Grow up or get a Myspace profile instead. Enough said.
-Facebook and Work
Because Facebook is still the internet, everything you say is permanent, even if you delete it. Post nothing about your job unless it is reflects a positive light on your profession. Saying “I hate my boss” is likely to get you fired. And again, it’s just not classy.
Personally, I also find it wise to refrain from checking Fb or making any posts at work unless you are allowed to do so, and avoid adding friends from work on Facebook unless you are exclusively using Facebook to network, or really are friends with them outside of the workplace. It’s just safer and prevents a whole lot of unnecessary issues.
-Big Announcements
Save it for real life, or at least do it in real life with as many as you can first. It’s just good manners.
-Grammar
Things you should know:
then/than
to/too
your/you’re
If you don’t know those, you just might consider learning them. I know we all make typos (I do it as well!), but learn the art of proofreading.
Also, unless you are twelve, avoid text lingo.
-Tweeting
Don’t hashtag to death. If I wanted to use Twitter, I would.
-Events
Make them private, or risk this being you: Epic Facebook Blunder.
Don't invite irrelevant people- I HATE getting invited to someone’s sister’s  best friend’s baby shower when I don’t even know them.
Don't use events for lost contacts. Send messages instead.

Most importantly, be yourself, but be positive and respectful. Your page may be private, but Facebook is still a public place. Act like it.

Okay, rant over.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Could not agree w/ you more! Some of these were my PEEVES before...they still are but it's SO MUCH BETTER with the invention of the "hide" button. I LOVE THAT BUTTON! Hahaha. The stupid applications are the worst! I also hate being friend requested by people i don't know! Sure we have 117 friends in common, but we haven't been introduced! I don't get it!