Facebook Etiquette 101
Facebook Etiquette for Everyone
Facebook is probably the most popular social networking website, yet many of us never think about Facebook etiquette. Since social networking is relatively new, we are kind of making up the rules as we go along. There are some universal rules we can now agree on though. Although some might seem obvious, a few rules of Facebook etiquette seem to be going over some users' heads. This is where I come in.
If you find you are constantly being unfriended or have to explain yourself to your Facebook friends all the time, you could be the problem. You might be offending your friends and not realizing it. That is why I've created this handy-dandy Facebook etiquette guide for people just like you!
Don't Post Private Messages on Profile Pages
I really can't figure this one out, but for some reason people love posting private messages on their friends' profiles. Perhaps you are one of those people and you did not even realize you could send a private message. Well, you can. Please note the helpful graphic to the right. When you go to a friend's profile, you can press that button and send a message only that person will see.
This option is perfect for occasions like:
- Giving someone bad news
- Discussing a personal subject, such as, "Hey, I'd like to tell you about my OB/GYN appointment."
- Attempting to start a fight or resolve an issue
- Breaking bad news, such as a death in the family (although a phone call is ever so much nicer in this situation)
- Asking a private question like, "Hey, did that rash clear up?"
- Bringing up personal family business
- Recommending a perverse movie that perhaps your pal would really enjoy, but he or she would prefer the world (including Grandma) did not find out about it.
- Posting a job when it is not public knowledge your friend is looking for a new job.
As you can see, there are many instances when you should use the message option. Don't just post a random statement on someone's page without expecting the world to see it, or better yet, chime in on it. Furthermore, you don't have the right to get upset when a person you don't know adds to the conversation. It does not matter if they were not invited; don't post your personal messages in a public place!
Don't Just Assume Someone Wants to Friend You
Sure, it is nice when all the cool people we like want to be friends on Facebook. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes people don't want to be Facebook friends, and guess what? That is OK. You see, Facebook is not your entire existence. Sometimes you are friends with someone in reality that does not want to be Facebook friends. Don't get all sad about it. You can still be friends.... but in real life, which is way better anyway.
Under certain circumstance, there are people that do not want to be Facebook friends, but it is actually nothing personal. For instance, I have family members that do not friend other family members because they are trying to keep drama to a minimum. I also know a few people that use Facebook for purely professional use at work and don't feel the need to have a personal Facebook page or friend anyone outside of their job. That is OK, too! Some people prefer to keep their friend lists down to a minimum, and unless you are a best friend or a family member, you are not getting on their list.
You see, all of this is totally acceptable behavior. People have the right to run their Facebook page however they would like. What is not acceptable is to continuously send friend requests and messages to the same person. No means no. Even if you are not getting a response, just accept that as a no and move on. Don't get too sensitive about it. The only time you may want to get a little worried is if your Mom is friending everybody you know, but not you. You also might want to be concerned if your spouse does the same.
Photo Comments Should Pertain to the Photo
I don't think I can say this enough and I am pretty sure I have mentioned this in previous Facebook hubs: when posting a comment about a photo, make sure the comment is about the photo. I can't tell you how many times people post some random message that has absolutely nothing to do with the photo. Once again, that is what the "message" button is for. Of course, if the message you have is a general one and not private, you could go ahead and post the comment on that person's profile page. What you don't want to do is post a ridiculous message that has nothing to do with the photo.
Not only do I find it annoying when people post random comments under a photo, I actually find it to be rude. Sometimes I go out of my way to post a photo that I think is beautiful or funny or special to me in some way. If I post a photo of my anniversary dinner, I don't want to read comments about why I did not respond to your text, how your day at work went, whether TBS is showing a new Conan episode that night, etc. Keep my photos from having ridiculous comments... or I just might have to hit that delete button!
Example of a Bad Comment for a Photo
Don't Post Inappropriate Photos of Your Friends
As if it is not annoying enough that people feel the need to take embarrassing photos at every event, it is a double whammy when the photos go online. Even worse, then the tagging begins. Yes, let's have everyone enjoy the embarrassing photos!
I do realize there are a number of privacy settings one can use to keep this type of thing at a minimum, but plenty of people do not use them. Instead, these people trust that their friends, family, and co-workers are not a bunch of creeps that are out to humiliate them online. Oh, trusting, foolish people!
If you have embarrassing photos of people on your Facebook friend list, it is best to keep them to yourself unless you know they are really good sports. Please remember that many people are friends with their bosses or co-workers on Facebook. That photo of your best friend vomiting all over the bartender because she drank too much might be hilarious to you, but it is probably her worst nightmare. Be a pal and keep those photos to yourself.
For goodness sake, while we are on the subject of bad Facebook pictures, stop tagging people in humiliating photos.... unless your friend has already tagged you in an embarrassing photo. Well, then, all bets are off.
Stop Clicking the Share Button
This is a pet peeve I have that is not so much about etiquette, but more about being obnoxious. No, you won't ruin anyone's life, but you will annoy the hell out of everyone on your friend list if you constantly share everything you see all the time.
I am friends with a few people that share anything and everything they see online. I am still confused about when they sleep or if they actually work while at their jobs. They share every cute photo they see, any articles they find slightly interesting, and even share the status updates of others. It is all too much.
It turns out, about 75% of my Facebook feed was filled with a bunch of random memes posted by just 2% of my friends. If you are one of these people, please stop! I understand kitten photos are really cute, but 20 of them in 2 minutes is just not that cute. They aren't even your kittens! So if you fall into this category, try to limit your Facebook sharing. There is a very strong possibility many of your friends have already started unfollowing you. Don't be that person any longer!
Keeping It Real
Even though Facebook is a relatively new form of communication when you compare it to the phone or mail, it has still be around long enough for most users to know some basics. In general, as long as you use some common sense, you should easily be able to use Facebook and not offend others. If in doubt and you are thinking your post may not be appropriate, then just don't do it. It is as simple as that. If all else fails, ask someone else's opinion. There are plenty of "Facebook experts" out there who are happy to give opinions. Just don't ask your buddy for advice if he is the one posting embarrassing photos with you in them; this is clearly not the guy that has the best judgment in your group of friends.
Questions & Answers
© 2015 Jeannie InABottle