Being a Good Facebook Group Member
I participate in many Facebook groups, finding them informative and helpful. Too often, I see members getting into trouble and even getting tossed out of a group. Maybe that has even happened to you.
There's a certain etiquette to posting in groups which for the most part isn't spelled out. Some groups post their rules, but most just deal with issues as they come up. Don't be the one that the moderators have to remove and block.
Being an administrator to a variety of groups on this social media platform, I'll share my tips for being a good group participant. The benefits of a group are too valuable to lose just because you got caught up in a rancorous debate or didn't bother to follow posted rules.
Don't Say "Thanks for the Add"
Many groups have dozens of new members added daily. No one wants the feed cluttered up with this phrase.
Instead, start by commenting on various posts and thinking about making a post with some information you can share that the group will appreciate.
Getting Started in a Group
- Answer all the membership questions when you apply to join. It's a big hassle for the administrators if you don't. They can take their valuable time to go check your profile to see if it shows a genuine interest in the group topic or they can save time and just not admit you to the group.
- Take time to read posted rules after being admitted to the group.
- Take time to browse through current postings on the timeline before doing any posting of your own.
- Get a feel for the tone of the group and how others are participating.
- Comment on some of the posts. Avoid being negative or critical.
Don't Agree With a Post?
I recommend that you just keep scrolling. Look for information and discussions that do appeal to you. There is no need to get into a fight or impose your opinion on other group members.
10 Etiquette Tips for Facebook Groups
Many of these will seem pretty basic but I see people misbehaving in groups way too often. Apparently, people leave their common sense and good manners behind when they are on social media.
- Don't be a jerk. Would you say to someone's face in the office or in a social situation something that you just said on Facebook? If not, then don't put it in a comment. No abusive language, hate speech, or bullying.
- Don't use CAPS LOCK when you post. That is considered to be shouting or even angry on social media.
- Some groups that are young and trendy allow swearing but most groups on Facebook frown on that.
- Don't add friends as members without consulting with them. Instead, post a link to the group on their timeline or in a message and let them decide if they want to join.
- Don't monopolize the group timeline. Posting once or maybe twice a day allows others to have their posts viewed too. Spread out your contributions over days and weeks.
- Stick to topics appropriate to the group. For instance, don't post in a history group about your football team winning the Superbowl. Put it on your timeline or go find a sports group to share your excitement.
- Before posting, do a search within the group to see if the topic has been covered before.
- Don't try to sell anything in a group until you check their policy on selling. Some groups are strict "no sales" but others allow items related to the topic. For instance, a Civil War group might allow authors to post their new book link. Do not repost over and over. Allow a decent time to elapse and post when you have something new to tell like your book getting a good review. No one wants ads for cheap sunglasses. That's SPAM.
- Some groups allow links to your own blog posts if it relates to their topic. Others frown on this as it draws members away. Ask the moderator in a message if you are unsure on this. Posting merely to grow your own audience is generally frowned upon.
- You don't always have to have the last word. In a back and forth discussion, pause and read over how it is escalating. Walk away and don't respond to repeated provocation from the other person. Be the grown-up.
Don't Get in Trouble!
Don't Get Tossed Out of a Group
There are a few actions that a group member should avoid at all costs. The number one sin is blocking a group administrator or moderator. This is grounds for removal from every group that I've been in. Just don't do that.
Most groups don't want current politics brought into the group (unless it is a political group). Using a topic in the group to comment about your political beliefs or promote a political agenda is a no-no.
Name Calling - Just don't start. If a discussion gets heated, don't keep going back and forth. Stop before you get to the point of calling someone a "snowflake" or "libtard" or "nitwit" or whatever insult you resort to in times of stress. Having the last word may feel satisfying at the moment, but will feel less so when the moderator reads the thread and tosses both participants out of the group.
Group Behavior From the Viewpoint of the Moderator
I'm a moderator for a number of group pages on Facebook, from a writing group to a Civil War group to a family history group. Here's what I recommend in situations where participants get hostile with each other and then attack the moderator who tries to calm it down.
- Call a halt to the discussion. Put a comment on it saying "This thread is closed."
- Delete the most offensive comments.
- Remember that most members just want to enjoy the group topic and not have lots of drama. For their benefit, post one or two general posts that people can return to having normal discussions. This also pushes the controversial topic further down the page where it can be forgotten.
- If angry members keep beating the dead horse with new threads or inserting the controversy into other topics, it's time to suggest they go start their own page that they can run the way they want. Delete them from the member list.
- Look at the settings for the group. If it is an open group, it might be time to set it as closed. If it is a closed one, maybe it could be secret. Look at the options and the membership to see what might give better control for the group.
- Ask several active members to be additional moderators. This way you won't feel like the Lone Ranger when an issue comes up. You will have others to consult.
- Make sure you have guidelines for the group posted.
- Don't pounce on every little negative comment. Your job is to keep out the spammers and to encourage participation on the page. Continuously negative and critical members will drag a group down, so they should be removed if they are becoming disruptive. Unless people are being really unkind to other participants, try to allow all to interact freely. You are a moderator, not a dictator.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Virginia Allain