This Is a Blog: Facebook Etiquette - Part 3

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Facebook Etiquette - Part 3

Part 3 - Comments

Commenting is maybe the diciest part of Facebook. As I pointed out in Part 2, Facebook makes everyone think all status updates are up for discussion. Hell, the internet now seems to be all about discussions. Videos, pictures, articles, everything has a comments section. Commenting is an easy way to connect with other people without having to come up with the topic of discussion. To avoid confrontation, a few things to think about before you hit "reply."

It's the poster's house, respect it - When I post something, it's like I'm hosting a mini-party. The item will show up on all my friends feeds, and those who decide to comment will be kept up to date on every subsequent comment. Since I'm the one who posted in the first place, the gathering of ideas is my event, and my responsibility if you start becoming an asshole. Before you post, keep in mind the conversation isn't yours, it's mine. If you want the conversation to be yours, start a new thread in your own space.

Read the status update carefully - Put yourself in the poster's shoes. Does this person really want to start a conversation? Is the poster looking for sympathy? Did the poster say something to elicit a response in any way? Or was the poster just rattling off nonsense cuz he or she was bored. Remember, every time you comment, someone's going to get an annoying e-mail about it.

Read the other comments first - If someone else has already said what you're thinking, you don't really need to say anything. If it's something you feel REALLY passionate about, go ahead and post that you've "Agreed" and maybe clarify a little more. Before you do, though, keep in mind that your comment will get e-mailed to all the other commenters. That can get annoying.

Ask yourself, "Do I need to comment on this?" - A great improv teacher once told me, "Before you enter a scene, ask yourself, 'Am I really adding to the scene, or do I just think this scene could use some Vitamin Me?'" Ask yourself that before you decide to comment. Are you really adding to the conversation, or are you just trying to get attention? If you're not adding to the conversation, you're just annoying, and seriously disrespecting my house. You don't NEED to comment on anything, so before you do, ask yourself why you feel the need to inject yourself. Seriously, is whatever you have to add to the conversation worth even the possibility someone could find it annoying?

Know when to take it to private messages - This goes for commenters and posters alike. The moment you get frustrated, take it to a private message. If the comments have evolved (or devolved) into a conversation involving only a couple of the commenters, start a private message thread. If someone's getting annoying and you don't want to delete the comment, send a private message with a polite request that the person stop, without having to embarrass the commenter in public. They taught me in film school, "Praise in public, scold in private." If your friend can't stand to be privately, politely asked to give it a rest, it may be time to look for the "Remove from Friends" button.

Okay, that's it. I've been stewing over this for several months now, and it feel good to get it all on paper-esque.



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