Facebook etiquette

Posted on December 31, 2009

facebook etiquette

What’s the etiquette for interacting online? Do you sometimes feel as though there is an unwritten set of rules that everyone else knows but you? Wikipedia defines etiquette as: “[telling us] which fork to use. Manners tells [us] what to do when your guest doesn’t use his fork.” This can apply to online behaviors as well. It all comes down to common sense and to treating others as you want to be treated.

I thought I’d start with Facebook etiquette, since Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms. According to the Facebook Press Room, Facebook has:

–350 million active users
–50% active users log on to their account each day
–35 million active users update their status daily.

According to the Social Media Blog, Mashable, Facebook was the most searched term of 2009. It was also the most visited website on Christmas Day. That’s a lot of people connecting with friends and family!

Here are some tips for using Facebook.

1. Be mindful of what you’re sharing.
What goes online stays online. If you wouldn’t want your mother or your kids to see it, don’t post it! No whining either. People aren’t interested in your problems.

2. Choose posting quality over quantity.
Too many posts can annoy your friends. Facebook is more informal than LinkedIn, so you can show your personal side. However, even your closest friends don’t want constant updates from you. This is especially true of sharing articles or information about your political or religious views. If you feel you must share your views, join the Facebook Fan page for that cause and interact with others who think like you.

3. Exercise restraint on inviting friends to add a Facebook application or play a Facebook game..
Just because you’re in love with applications like Sheep Launcher or Zombie Attack , doesn’t mean you should send it to all your Facebook friends. Many consider this to be spam.

If you must share, be selective. For example, if you are a iPhone lover and you know some of your friends are too, you could invite them to add this an application related to iPhones.

4. Think before posting on a friend’s wall.
Is what you’re going to write better communicated in a personal email? a phone call? Remember that wall posts are public, at least to one’s friends. Never give out personal information in a wall post, e.g. your phone number or address.

5. Choose your friends wisely.
You may follow all the rules for good etiquette, but your friends may not. This reflects on you. Depending on your privacy settings, people viewing your profile can also see information about your friends. You don’t want that recruiter looking at the picture showing your best friend holding a beer bottle.

In my next post I’ll talk about the ins and outs of Facebook friends.