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Etiquette for Social Networking Websites: Facebook

Updated on April 9, 2019

Which one of these behaviors have you done on a social networking site that violate etiquette?

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"The Electric Friend Generator": Facebook

In the real world we have accepted practices we call etiquette or social rules and norms that tell us what is appropriate and what is not appropriate when engaging in interpersonal relationships. However, when it comes to social networking we have an abundance of ideas of what is or isn't appropriate for communication online. Rules and laws govern our lives and it is not different when it comes to interactions on the internet, if anything the safety concerns for the individual should prompt immediate regulations as to what is appropriate. Just as we have behavior expectations at work, at school, on the elementary school playground, on public transportation...we have behavior that should be expected on the Web and behavior we should never see on the Web. Due to a variety of morals and values, its unfortunate we can't leave it up to our discretion.

We run into these kinds of issues whenever new technology evolves and we learn to adapt to the functioning of this item in our lives. Such happened when answering machines came out. People felt it rude, that if you were home, you don't answer your phone as they shouldn't be "screening" phone calls. After the answering machine was out for awhile this overall consensus disappeared and people adjusted to the new social norms that technology forced on them to adapt and evolve and change aspects of their lives and expectations. Change isn't easy for many people and when new technology floods the market people get aggravated and annoyed trying to just figure out how it works. Especially now-a-days with the complicated cell phones and the multiple options of everything that you can think of. So, unless you have a lot of money as well, its difficult if not impossible to stay fully up-to-date on everything anyway.

Don't Annoy the SH*! Out of Your Friends

A common annoying behavior that Facebook users engage in...changing relationship status's frequently
A common annoying behavior that Facebook users engage in...changing relationship status's frequently

Rules, Etiquette, and Boundaries

1: Don't tell your "friends" too much about yourself.

Social media has dragged everything that used to be private about our lives into the public spotlight. Public means globally and nothing seems to be private anymore. There are varying levels of private you should consider.

  • Giving out too much identifying information about yourself such as birthday and year, entire address, phone numbers, mother's maiden name... this information can be used to access nearly all accounts that you have open or they can open them in your identity as insitutions use this as identifying information to verify who you are. Same goes for security questions. If you have a security question for an account that asks where your spouse proposed, make sure that you don't have that on your public profiles. If someone asks you for this kind of information, don't give it out. Never give out your social security number or credit card number information to anyone because social networking sites won't ask you for your social security number.
  • Consider how personal you are willing to be in cyberspace as nothing ever truly disappears on the web and can come back later to hurt you and has been known to ruin relationships and friendships. Consider who will see that information that you post. Do you have family on your friends list? Is it something you wouldn't mind your father knowing about you? Can you get in trouble on the job for your profile contact? It's probably best to think before you post just like you were taught to think before you speak when you were little.
  • There IS such a thing as TMFI...'Too much facebook information"...this refers to things like sexual shortcomings of your boyfriend last night, your bowel movement problems, personal hygiene problems. That is what email message facebook is for. Your 130 friends don't want to read how bad your silent fart smelled when you were standing in a long line at the DMV and it made the old man behind you throw up.
  • Too much facebook information isn't all about divulging too personal of information. It is also about oversharing every little thought going through your head. It isn't necessary to tell your friends that it only took twenty steps to the fridge today and we don't need to know what the fridge temperature is. No one necessarily wants to see photos of everything you eat, like that half eaten burrito or the melted milkshake you left in the car for three days.

Since When Did You Become A Preacher?!

2. Don't turn your facebook page into a social media preacher for all the world to endure. Don't use it as your own personal soapbox for your personal crusades or political and religious views.

  • A good thing to think about when you are contemplating what you are going to post on Facebook, think about if your friends and family in real life would be engaged in what you were saying and they would want to hear it. If they find ways to avoid talking to you about the president's upcoming election because it becomes them listening and you talking and no one can get a word in? Don't do it on facebook. All it does is irritate, offend, and annoy those on your friend's list and if they don't delete you or send you a nasty comment back to shut up, they may set settings that block your feed from their page and they won't even see it anyway.
  • Don't get into an arguement that is getting emotionally heated over issues that are sensitive and can ruin real relationships or instigate verbal altercations to be exchanged online.
  • There also isn't any need to turn everyone's views into a personal attack against you, and don't make an issue out of every little event that is going on in the world. Sharing is important and it is nice to have intellectual exchange of ideas but its important to keep your people skills in the fore front of your mind. If you wouldn't do it in person, don't do it online. They used to teach us growing up that the two topics that you need to stay away from when in public and making conversation is politics and religion. It would be smart to stay away from the same things online that would in person. As the reactions can actually get more heated online when you take out body language and being able to hear verbal and auditory cues from the people you are talking to.

Why Won't This Guy Stop Already?!

3. Don't turn it into your own personal complaint forum. If half of your updates are negative or complaining about something you are in violation of this rule.

  • This doesn't mean that you can't say what you feel but when its the majority of your posts, you are turning it into free therapy and no one is getting paid to be your therapist.
  • Whining isn't attractive; actually its a turn off.
  • Everyone has a bad day, but when your negativity is transferring into 130 of your friends having a bad day, you have stepped into their homes, out of the computer and attached yourself to them for them to drag around your problems and weigh them down. Other's moods can affect other's.

4. Don't report like you are anchoring for the 11 0'clock news

  • The internet has a multitude of sources to find information that someone wants to find. There is plenty of live streams and apps you can click like on so that news will stream onto your wall. There isn't always a need to give a play by play of the news, or my pet peeve, a sporting even such as a football game. Comments are fine and rooting for your team or someone asks you the score, but no one wants to feel like the sports commentator is sitting on their shoulder yelling into your ear the statistics of a team and sport you don't even watch.
  • Celebrity play-by-play is also unnecessary. I don't need to know that they were seen at the local supermarket buying tampons.
  • Misreporting facts is just as bad and can create confusion and irritation among your friends. IF you MUST report an event, than do it with the actual factual content. No one wants to take your word for it and go home to tell their spouse and get looked at like they are an alien from dumbshit planet because it sounds like a kindergarten retelling the news instead of an intelligent adult.

5. Facebook overheated due to all your uploads and shares of quotes and sayings that "inspire"

  • I am an avid quotes and sayings user. I love to scroll through when I am really bored any image website and see what is there. I also love to share some of my favorite ones that have something to do with what I am going through. However, I don't click share on every image I see on my feed and I don't upload fifty at one time and overload my computer system or facebook wall. My mom blocked my feed for sharing ten one day. Some people don't like them, don't find them funny, don't share your philosophy, hate God, for whatever the reason they don't want to see fifty or more all in one sitting. Do what I do and save them to the hard drive for a later day.

It is important to be aware of how your wall posts are percieved by other users
It is important to be aware of how your wall posts are percieved by other users

Bragging is as Unattractive Online as it is in Person

6. Please stop bragging about how many people are following you, your head gets bigger and bigger and you become more unlikeable by the moment.

  • All bragging does is make people think that you have nothing else to care about in your life than sit and watch people click the follow button or the subscribe button.
  • You look like you are compensating for something

7. Quit posting on your wall that your crops are done, we don't care.

  • People who don't play the games, don't want to see 30 of the auto-posts from 10 different games. They don't want the friend requests they keep denying to be your farm neighbor yet you keep sending them more. They aren't going to change their mind.
  • I don't care if you are the new town mayor or expanded your property or bought a new pink cow.

8. Stop posting updates that don't make any sense to anyone but you.

  • I am talking about the cryptic ones...the one's that sound like you WANT someone to ask you what you are talking about. It looks like you are just trying to get attention.
  • It is the statement's like, "I can't believe that just happened" or "I can't wait" really generic stuff that makes it sound like you have a major secret or you ran out of things to make up and want us to fill in the blanks for you.

9. Get permission from your friends or other people in your photos before posting them and worse, tagging them.

  • Some people don't want their photo plastered all over the internet.
  • Some people will get in trouble for being somewhere they didn't state they would be and that photo busts them out and causes marrital issues.
  • Some don't want family members of their to see and so stop tagging
  • If in doubt, ask them their permission if they say no, and you still have put it up for some reason, photoshop is a wonderful thing.

10. Don't talk in a negative way about your boss, it will get back to you.

Do you check your child's facebook?

As a parent, do you have your child's passwords and check their online social networking sites?

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Sometime's It's All Business and Image

1. Fill in your profile completely and use a recent photo of yourself.

  • Many people dislike seeing cartoons and cats as a profile picture. A real picture of yourself can remind a friend you requested from high school who you are.

2. Have a seperate account for you personal Facebook and open a new one for your business connections.

  • You don't want to mix business with pleasure. Your boss doesn't need to see picture updates of you kissing your spouse, or pictures of your kids running around half unclothed. As you don't want to see work updates when its your time off.

3. Detail in your "who I like to meet" section what you are looking for on the website and be specific, you don't need everyone to apply to be your Facebook friend.

  • Good to include a statement that asks visitors to please abide by what you have written and that way your time won't be wasted and you can control the quality of the friends you accept.

4. Offer things of value when you are posting public comments.

  • Don't gossip about people and waste other's time with drama. No one wants to see you posting someone's secrets, or their indiscretions.
  • If you post someone's personal life or gossip about them publcily like that no one will trust you because if you will do it to them you will do it to someone else and they don't want to be that someone else.
  • Refrain from foul language or terminology and phrases that may offend your friends. Don't be racist, biast, sexist, or just plain rude in the way you post...its like running off at the mouth and not considering who is in hearing distance.

5. Don't randomly request strangers for friends and after they accept you turn around and try to promote a product or sell them something, that is a fast way to lose credibility.

  • You should check your terms and conditions to whatever social networking site you are using because some sites don't let you promote outside products or bombard your website with too many links. Hubpages for instance, doesn't let you have an over-promotional page.

6. Pick a valid screen name that makes sense and will identify you and won't ambarass you if someone like your grandma saw it or your boss. If its for you business make sure it represents your business well.

  • You don't want your grandma to come into the technologically advanced 21st Century and get a facebook to keep up with her 15 grandkids to see you being called PornQueen or something to that affect.
  • Don't pick a screen name for you business that is closely related to a different service or product and make sure its not trademarked or copyrighted in the information you include.

7. Make sure to make an effort to engage in meaningful conversations on facebook with people on your friends list.

  • People that don't talk to some of their friends in a long time do clean ups on those lists and you could get deleted.

8. Parents check your child's facebook to make sure that inappropriate content isn't visible, such as talking about sex, talking about another kid online, threatening someone, that they know the people on their friends list and that their settings are appropriate for a minor.

  • By ignoring inappropriate content you are encouraging their bad and disrespectful behavior.
  • Teach your child what kind of language is acceptable to use.
  • Have parenting controls set.
  • Screen the wall and be a friend on their page so they can't keep you off their page by setting it to private.
  • Follow through with disciplinary actions if they violate the rules and code of conduct.
  • Never condone cyber-bullying or bullying of any kids.
  • Teach your child what proper etiquette is socially as well and if other kids are involved in an infringement of the rules for the website, talk to their parents too.

9. Be respectful to others points of view.

10. If in doubt contact support for the soical networking site you are using.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 Abby Rourk


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