Let’s face it most of us start our day with at least taking a peek at our Facebook page. We jump on to see what has transpired from the night before with our friends, family, coworkers, and even our former high school and college classmates. Facebook can feel like mindless entertainment. However, for many, it has become part of our social DNA and it has affirmed that social media is here for good! Ask yourself this: When you go on Facebook, do you make it a point to set an example for others by being kind, using manners, and most of all, not sharing too much information online?
Don’t Share Too Much
Let’s start by always remembering that what we post on Facebook, even if we have all of our privacy settings set to private, is public! I always say if you don’t want Grandma to read it, don’t post it! Most of your public profile and cover pictures tend to end up on Google Images (Don’t believe me? Google yourself!) Believe it or not, those profiles and screens can get “screenshot” by friends and shared with others without you ever knowing it.
Recently, I ran into an old acquaintance and she commented about how much she loved a few family photos that I had posted on Facebook. I know that she is not on Facebook, so I was puzzled – how did she see them?? When I questioned her about it, she nonchalantly told me that my photos often got shared with her from another friend of mine who would save the pictures she liked in her camera roll. In my opinion, this is a tad inappropriate. Please try to respect your Facebook friends’ privacy and don’t do what my old acquaintance did. Here are a few additional items that we all should avoid to make us good-mannered Facebook friends.
The Open-Ended Status
Have you ever read a status that someone posted and it left you puzzled with more questions than the final episode of Breaking Bad?
10 more days until it happens!
What happens? Did I miss a post? Should I know this?
Facebook has given us the opportunity to immediately communicate with all of our closest friends and family at once. Don’t post something that leaves your friends scratching their heads and wondering. Doing so can be seen as a bit obnoxious and attention seeking. An open-ended status is a little like when you hang with a friend in person and they are obviously upset and when you ask what is wrong they say “nothing”, in a tone that tells you that something IS definitely wrong! Please try not to emulate that online.
Not Sharing The Love
We all love to post an exciting update about ourselves, a recent vacation we took, our kids graduation, or even one of those boring posts we see about a friend’s new job or business endeavor. Make sure that you remember that when your friends take the time to comment and like your good news and photos. You really should do the same for their updates! If not, why bother to be Facebook friends at all? It’s good social etiquette and it’s being a good “friend”. As the old saying goes, “Friendship is a two-way street and you can’t expect to just take and take without giving anything in return.”
Make an effort to be a friend online, as in real life recognize that if your friend took the time to post then it probably means something to them. So please do take a few seconds to show them the love by liking, loving, or even better, making a supportive comment on their updates! If you think that you have too many Facebook friends to “share the love”, then maybe you really do have too many Facebook friends. Studies show that you can only really properly manage 150 or so anyway! 😉
The Tasteless Photo Tag
Maybe it was a great night out or a fun day at the beach with your family or friends. You go through all the photos from the day and find the ones that you look the best in. However, you have forgotten that your friend may not want to show up on Facebook in their bathing suit ( the horror!) or at a party that they were not supposed to be attending because of another obligation that they skipped out on. We all have that one family member or friend that suddenly posts a picture of us from 15 years ago, 3 martinis deep dancing at a wedding! When you are trying to establish yourself as a business owner or a responsible parent, reliving that moment, in public is never pleasant!
The solution to this faux pas is really a simple one: when in doubt about posting pictures that include others…ask first!
The Poorly Timed Status Update
You invite your close friend to the dinner party that you have been planning for weeks. You are surprised when they turn down your invitation but understand when they tell you its because they are headed out of town that weekend. Sadly, people forget that Facebook is date/time and location stamped. You jump on Facebook after your fabulous dinner party is over and you see that your friend who was supposed to be out of town just posted an update from down the street!
There is nothing wrong with turning down an invitation. However, it is just bad manners to go on Facebook and update your status when you already said that you would be focusing your attention elsewhere. Never forget who is in your network that might be connected to the person you skipped out on. If you are going to do so, at least have the courtesy to keep your rudeness a secret. If it was a mistake, an apology really does go a long way!
At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you if you want to follow these good-mannered suggestions. Really it is as simple as finding the balance between enjoying social media for fun, but also remembering to be sensitive to everyone. We ought to be aware of the “publicness” of Facebook and to always make sure that we protect our privacy, while at the same time, respect the fact that all of us, collectively, from the Facebook ecosystem. Find that right balance and you’ll not only better that experience yourself, but also help others enjoy it as well.
It is important to remember that as adults, we are also setting an example with how social media should be used. It is essential when raising children these days that we help them to grow up treating others with respect, as well as making sure that they are balancing the time that they spend using their mobile devices, with non-digital experiences.
A favorite tool that I use & recommend to parents is Netsanity. They have a 14-day free trial so it’s worth checking out. They have a suite of services like their timeblocker scheduler, which can be used daily to ensure that your teens and kids enjoy other activities regularly!
Overall, balance and showing others respect and kindness in all aspects of our lives is the key to keeping both young and old happy online and off!
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
Netsanity is available for both Apple and Android devices.