In our world of revolutionary new ways to communicate, it should be no surprise that social niceties have evolved as well. With new ways to stay in contact online comes new expectations for politeness. To some, these new assumptions may seem intimidating, yet most are common sense. On Facebook, for example, reciprocity is the best way to stay active, yet respectful. To take the guesswork out of your social media interactions, we’ve compiled the top 20 most important pieces of Facebook etiquette.
Don’t Get Too Personal
It’s always a good idea to avoid Facebook after recent fall outs with people close to you. Whether it’s a failed friendship or a romantic relationship, posting too much about the break up is unprofessional. It’s good Facebook etiquette to keep certain private things, private.
When In Doubt, Message
Similarly, it’s a good idea to remember what belongs on someone’s wall and what should be in a message. Remember that everyone can see wall posts and no one appreciates public posts that are too personal.
Another piece of good Facebook etiquette is to respond when someone makes a comment. It’s sort of the virtual version of meeting a friend’s high five instead of leaving them hanging.
That being said, try not to over post on your friend’s activity. It’s perfectly fine to leave a few comments or likes when a friend shares some new photos, but it feels a bit like stalking when someone responds to every single post, every time.
Avoid Mundane Updates
Additionally, you shouldn’t over-share your life. Mundane things like grocery shopping or getting the mail might seem funny to you at the time, but friends are quick to hide updates from people they find annoying.
Respect The Tag
Try to make sure everyone looks good in photos before you post them or tag friends. It’s good Facebook etiquette to keep embarrassing photos private, since every tag shows up in all your friends Facebook feeds.
Filter Your Wall Posts
In a similar way, it’s also good Facebook etiquette to be sensitive about how you post on other people’s walls. A reasonable rule is to not post publicly details or photos that might get your friend in trouble if an employer were to see it.
Avoid Venting About Work
Another way to break Facebook etiquette is to vent about work. Don’t underestimate the “networking” part of social networking. If you are not completely positive about your privacy settings, friends of friends are likely to see posts or photos, which can quickly lead back to your coworkers or boss.
Don’t Pass On Chain Updates
Posting chain status updates is another way to break Facebook etiquette. Just like chain mail and chain email, chain status updates are only annoying. Try to avoid spreading anything that vows to give you good luck, bad luck, or keep you from being murdered by a werewolf. Additionally, by avoiding silly chain status updates, people’s feeds are less crowded for legitimate concerns that people need to see quickly – like nearby natural disasters, Amber Alerts, or similar concerns.
It’s also good Facebook etiquette to RSVP promptly when you get an invite to an event. Since your friend likely needs to prepare food, drinks, or venue space, responding quickly is respectful of their time.
Good Facebook etiquette also means avoiding fights on Facebook. Not only is it embarrassing down the road, other people don’t need to see your dirty laundry.
Appreciate Profile Pictures
It’s also good Facebook etiquette to like and comment on close friends profile pictures. Everyone likes chatting on Facebook, and it’s a nice way to stay in touch.
On the other hand, it’s good Facebook etiquette to avoid friending people you don’t know very well. Many people prefer to keep their circle of Facebook friends to the people closest to them in real life.
Don’t Impersonate Others
Unsurprisingly, you should never create a fake page for someone else. Not only is this in the actual Facebook rules, but bullying others by making fake, insulting pages is childish and can actually get you in legal trouble.
Wish Your Friends Happy Birthday
It’s also good Facebook etiquette to say something when a friend has a birthday, though you probably want to be less graphic than the photo above. It’s especially nice if you switch up the traditional happy birthday message with a silly picture, online game, or ecard.
Another piece of good Facebook etiquette should be obvious. Never try to force somebody to talk to you or “flame” somebody’s inbox. Sending angry messages over and over again will only make the person less willing to talk to you.
Everyone loves posting a joke status on someones page should a friend leave their Facebook account open one of your devices. However, remember the guidelines above – employers, parents, grandparents and other people close to this person are going to see the update. If you can’t think of something in good taste, it’s better to just hit Log Out.
You might think photoshopping yourself into a beautiful scene (or claiming ownership of a photo that isn’t you) will go unnoticed, but in reality it just makes you look too eager. Not only that, you should be proud of who you really are offline.
“Trolling”, or making a joke out of something online that wasn’t intended as such seems like fun, but it can quickly cross the line. Since Facebook is often used to keep people informed in times of distress or tragedy, what seems like a harmless joke could actually be making fun of a grave situation.
Search Before You Post
Finally, if you want to seem professional on Facebook, it is an excellent idea to look up details before you post. Some stories we see on other peoples Timelines seem legitimate, but in fact are satire or just plain false. Even spelling mistakes can make you look foolish, so try to proofread before you hit “Share”.
Featured photo credit: Maurizio Pesce via flickr.com