It’s 2017. Social media is entwined in our daily routines.
You switch your alarm off in the morning and scroll through your Facebook feed while you wake up. You read fake news articles while on the train. You tag your friends in memes when you should be working. You notice a trending topic and find out what people are talking about. Hell, if you work in social media like me then you’re on it practically 24/7.
Which is probably why I get so frustrated at the people who are (in my eyes) “doing it wrong.” Think back to how you behaved on social media (Facebook in particular), five years ago. If you have it switched on, Facebook actually gives you daily reminders of how embarrassing you were with their “On this Day” feature. I have mine switched on primarily to delete all the cringe-worthy things I used to post.
The majority of us have adapted our social media behaviour to reflect a certain level of decorum. Consider this: if you were in public and you overheard a conversation, would you interrupt to share something entirely unrelated? The answer is hopefully “no,” which is why we recognise that what we’re commenting on someone’s Facebook status should be relevant to their post.
Some of my older relatives have not quite mastered this universal understanding of what’s okay and what’s not while online. I appreciate that the problem I am referring to may occur on other social media platforms and parts of the Internet, and that the older generations are not the sole abusers, but seeing as Facebook is where both my mother, my aunty and my partner’s mother continue to make extreme faux pas, that’s where the focus of this blog will remain.
So now I come to the fun part. Here is my list of rules for appropriate Facebook etiquette. Let me know your opinions in the comments on whether you agree or disagree, or have any you think should be added!
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Rule #1: Don’t add people to group chats (without a good reason).
Steve’s nephew recently graduated high school with an almost-perfect score of 99.5! Congratulations are definitely in order, and what better way to let everyone know how proud you are by sharing a Facebook status? What’s not such a good way is by creating a group chat to share the news. Especially when the perpetrator also includes your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend into the chat.
Rule #2: Don’t have irrelevant conversations during group chats, i.e.: tell everyone that my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend just had a baby.
As a follow-up from Rule #1, there are scenarios where group chats are necessary; if you’re trying to organise something with a group of people, for example, such as a holiday or an event. It’s good practice, though, to stay on topic during the group chat to avoid inundating everyone with unnecessary notifications. Sorry Joan, this one’s on you again.
Rule #3: Don’t comment “How are you?” on someone’s Facebook status.
I can’t count how often I’ve heard people I know say, “Mum ruined my Facebook status.” In my case, it’s often an aunty I haven’t seen in a while. I’m good, thanks, Aunty Lorraine, but wish you could’ve just PM’d me.
Rule #5: Don’t respond to my Facebook status or post by commenting something irrelevant on another person’s thread.
I know that Facebook comment-threading is still relatively new, but it’s been around long enough in other forums and platforms for everyone to have figured it out by now. If your comment is relevant to that particular comment thread, that’s fine, but if it’s not, start your own.
Rule #6: Don’t group tag everyone in your Facebook status.
If you want to share something with me, either post it to my wall (or preferably, send it to me privately). If you’re checking us into a location that we are both at, that’s fine, but don’t tag people you think will want to read your post, especially if it’s a meme you think is funny or inspirational. Sorry mum, but chances are, I won’t. Just tag me in the comments like everyone else does.
Rule #7: Don’t do the “copy and paste this” chain Facebook messages or status updates.
Why do they need to be copy and pasted? What’s wrong with sharing? I bet you used to forward all those ridiculous chain emails back in the day, too, huh?
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There you have it. Simple rules to live by when using Facebook. Mum taught me table manners, like not putting my elbows on the table or chewing with my mouth open, and now I’m returning the favour by teaching her Facebook etiquette.