You probably practice basic etiquette in your day-to-day life, but what about the virtual world? You might as well want to be consistent and well-mannered while communicating online. Is there some ground Facebook etiquette rules you should follow to be a pleasant person to interact with?
Difficulty of online social networks is that it is a relatively new phenomena and conventional etiquette guidelines don’t really cover every inch of the web life. Before writing about Facebook manners I went through over 40 articles published online. Opinions vary greatly and authors often have very opposite views on the matter. Still, I’ve noticed one peculiarity the pieces had in common.
Some bloggers tend to think that the personality traits which they don’t like personally, must be considered rude on a general level. Luckily for overactive Facebook users, that’s not always the truth. Let’s look at the top 5 Facebook etiquette traps and find out how to avoid them in a smooth fashion.
Trap #1: What happens on profile doesn’t stay on profile
Bunch of complaints are related to heightened activity on some profiles. Critics are often displeased by the fact that ‘the intrusive guy’ keeps posting dozen of updates every hour, so his unfortunate Facebook friends have to work their way through the messy news feed page with tons of useless links and vexatious videos.
In fact, as long as there is no violation of Facebook T&Cs, the act of posting 25 movies in a row starring cute kitties is a personal preference, just like your personal preference is editing the news feed page settings and hiding all updates coming from the animal entusiast. Neither you, nor the cat guy are regardered as barbaric simpletons in such situation.
Trap #2: Spreading the Friends Circle
As oppose to the freedom of updating your profile, there are borders you shouldn’t cross when it comes to socializing on Facebook.
Number one purpose of any online social network – getting in touch with those you know. Although there is an option of adding absolutely random people to your friends list, that doesn’t mean you should enjoy this doubtful privilege.
You might want to add strangers and get extra points for extending your Mafia Wars gang, but try to resist such reflex. In case if Mafia Wars is a substantial part of your life and you can’t stand the chance of getting stuck on level 250, take a long yet much more polite way.
Search for related Facebook groups and get in touch with its members. Send them a Facebook mail asking if they would be interested in accepting your friendship request. Only after receiving positive answers send the invitation.
Trap #3: Tempting Comments Box
By posting a new Facebook status you indirectly initiate a dialogue. If you share an article you stumbled on, consider having “Like” reactions and comments from your friends. It’s all fine as long as they stay on topic. Not so good if an especially talkative pal drops a line with an irrelevant observation just because he saw your update on his news feed page and thought it’s perfect time to get in touch.
Bottom line, don’t be the guy who answers “Heard you are going through the divorce, good luck with that!” on a posting about sunny weather.
Generally, “Write something” feature on your friends’ wall is good for neutral comments or birthday wishes. When you want to find out if your jobless friend managed to find a new work place, send him a personal Facebook message.
At the same time, if you fill the “What’s on your mind” box with “World is so unfair, I can’t stand it anymore” remark, expect your friends posting very personal questions back.
If there is important news your family should know about, tell them before putting it on your Facebook wall. As an example, don’t announce that you are single again before discussing the split with your ex significant other. Breaking up on Facebook is a hilarious story to tell only if you are not starring in it.
Trap #4: Look what I did last weekend!
Facebook has quite user-friendly photo galleries and is capable to display countless image archives. Go ahead and share pictures of the trip to Papua New Guinea or a copy of casual dinner at your favorite restaurant. But if the set consists an image of your tipsy colleague pole dancing, it is extremely rude to post such photo without asking the work buddy whether he’d like to share this masterpiece with the world. No matter how funny you think the picture is, keep it to yourself until the person confirms (s)he doesn’t mind seeing it in your Facebook gallery.
Even when photos look decent to you, the best practice is to notify your friends that you just uploaded the set from your last get-together and ask them to check if they like your selection. Delete the photos as soon as possible in case someone asked you to remove several images.
Trap #5: To tag or not to tag
It might sound a little uptight, but tagging has to be made by those who are on the photo. You never know whether a person wants his entire friends list to see pictures you were taking at a private party.
We already established that the proper way to handle the galleries is by notifying the people on the images that you uploaded new set on Facebook. Add to your message a line saying that they are welcome to tag their photos if they want to. Or at least check if they wouldn’t mind you tagging them.
Primum Non Nocere
Ultimately, if you are interested in being a true lady or gentleman the golden rule of living online life should be “First, do not harm”. This simple principle is well-known in medical circles and fits perfectly when it comes to Facebook communication.
Do you have some question on Facebook etiquette or you think we forgot to mention something important? Come talk to us! Leave your comment below and let’s start the conversation!