Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Facebook Etiquette - Part 2

Part 2 - Status Updates

Say what you want about Twitter and Facebook, there actually is a market for people to post their thoughts 24/7. Most people don't want to know if anyone cares, they just want to feel like they're reaching out to someone. That's fair. However, to avoid unnecessary fights, let's try to keep the following things in mind.

Potential employers will -- not might -- read everything you post - Whether you believe this or not, you should always think about that before you post. This will prevent you from posting anything too offensive or vulgar. Most importantly, it will remind you that if you post negative things about your job while at your job, they're well within their rights to fire you. But won't that limit our ability to express ourselves? Yes, yes it will. Just keep in mind, while you have the right to say whatever you want, the more out there you go, the more you risk the consequences. Your words have consequences. They teach you that in kindergarten.

You can't always determine tone over the internet - Someone's Facebook status a little while ago was that someone needs to come up with a sarcasm font. Sarcasm definitely doesn't read across the internet, but the same goes for thousands of other human emotions and forms of expression. When you write something, you have a clear tone of voice in your head, but as most of us aren't professional writers, that tone rarely if ever come across exactly the way you wanted it to. Misunderstandings will happen over the internet, they just will. Before you get pissed off at someone, pick up the phone, or at the very least send a private message asking for clarification. Is the tiny bit of embarrassment that comes with asking for an explanation really worse than sparking off a fight with a good friend?

Posting an unpopular opinion will start a conversation, always - "I think the Beatles suck." okay... "I'm all for war, let's go kill foreigners." right... "Barack Obama was definitely born in Kenya, and if you disagree, you can suck it." wait... "I'm starting to question the merits of public health care." You might as well follow each of these up with the phrase "Please discuss." Going out on a limb and voicing an unpopular opinion might bring out a few people that agree with you, but to get to them, you have to sift through a sea of dissenters. If you don't expect the dissenters, you're going to get defensive. The more aggressive your tone, the more dissenters you'll get. So before you get pissed at all the comments calling you a douche bag, go back and read what you wrote, you maybe were just looking to pick a fight.

People may disagree with you, if you don't want to hear it, don't post your opinions publicly - This is sort of an addendum to the last one. If you post an opinion of any kind, people will respond. Facebook is built to start conversations. That's why you can comment on EVERYTHING. Even if your status is "My, the sun feels good today," someone could have an opinion. You should know by now that Facebook is a tool for multi-way communication, and if you don't want people commenting on your thoughts, don't say them out loud (yes, posting on the internet and saying them aloud are the same thing)

It's ok to just delete comments - I once had a mailing list that got out of control, and when I tried to ask people to stop hitting Reply All, they thought I was kidding around, so they kept doing it. A good friend told me I should have just ignored it. Responding, no matter how constructive you think your response is, will always perpetuate it. If the comments on your status update, or note, or whatever, get too long, just let it alone. And if things get really annoying, just delete the comments. It's ok. It really is. If you make it known that you delete comments in general, it's easier when you have to do it. Deleting a comment says without saying that the comment was irrelevant, inappropriate, or in any way undesired. If the commenter has any common sense, they'll get it, and you've just saved that person and yourself an annoying Facebook confrontation.

Speaking of comments, that's what Part 3 will be about.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts