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Proper Facebook Etiquette

Written by admin, Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 in Q&As

What should I do with Facebook? I don’t like the privacy policy. I really don’t like the games and stuff. But I need it. What are good rules?

Facebook is probably best described as a necessary evil. I don’t like it very much myself (and I very rarely use it), but it’s really become one of those things you have to use for social events and the like. So, let me give you some ideas on how to properly manage yourself on there.

Rule number one is simple, but very very important: never ever post or do anything on Facebook you would not want your employer, parents, girlfriend, or anyone to see. If it wouldn’t be fit to be plastered on your forehead, it’s not fit to go online. Never ever put pictures of yourself drunk (or obviously doing any sort of heavy partying), doing something stupid/illegal, or the like. Never ever post comments about being depressed, complaining about work, or otherwise discussing antisocial topics. Do not list movies, music, or TV shows as favorites unless they are relatively mainstream (no “I like porn!” stuff). Do not join groups that are offensive or even remotely strange. Do not become heavily political unless you do so in a quiet, respectable way.

Basically, only mention the very basics of yourself. Consider Facebook to be one big oversized business card, and expect other people to treat it as such. The best word for this would be to say you want to manicure your profile — make it clean, neat, tidy, simple, safe, and convenient, and don’t make it something that would embarrass you. Privacy rules or no, you should never open yourself up to such easy critique — you don’t know who is saving your pictures, taking screenshots, &c.

And I really mean it. Even incidentally offensive things need to go. For example, you really may like a lot of serial killer movies — but don’t list a bunch, it will seem suspect. Don’t ever talk about having a hard day, it sometimes can be seen as indications of depression. Don’t complain about work, even indirectly. Don’t list off a bunch of rap music as your favorite — no matter how much you like it, it sends a message. Indeed, you lose a lot of freedom in the process of constructing your profile, but remember, presenting an appropriate image takes precedent over making a stupid statement on a website.

Other rules? Don’t use it too much, and don’t sit around and chat on it if you can avoid it. Never use it in a public setting, it seems sophomoric if not blatantly rude (and I mean it — do not use it in class). Don’t discuss anything in private chats you wouldn’t want to go public. Put only your best pictures on there. Don’t engage in spamming of people’s walls, posts, or the like. Never ever post obviously attention whoring posts (like “I wish someone would talk to me!” or something along those lines). Don’t use apps on people, or even apps yourself, if you can help it. Basically, just try to use it like a 60+ year old man would — sparingly.

I hope this helps. I know I’m being hyper conservative about it, but I’ve seen a lot of examples of what Facebook can do to normal people, and it’s ridiculous. Your best option is to use it as sparingly as possible and keep it as simple as possible — the more involved you get, the more troublesome it can become.

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