We all have Facebook friends we’ve hidden or even deleted (ouch!) because they just don’t seem to have a filter when it comes to what they post. Sometimes, these people can be entertaining. Other times, just plain annoying, and even offensive (“you think WHAT about my preferred[football team/political party/boy band/parenting methods/religious beliefs]?!?”
Social Media is tricky – it’s constantly changing and therefore rules of etiquette cannot be pinned down and strictly adhered to; rather, we need to develop a general understanding of what is or isn’t appropriate, and then use common sense to fill in the gaps.
Just because you might be a ‘let-it-all-hang-out’ kind of person, it doesn’t mean your friends are. If your friend had a raging party over the weekend or experienced an important life event of sorts (eg: just got engaged/pregnant/hired for a new job), don’t be the one to spill the beans on their behalf. This is simply not cool. Private or important matters should not be splurged all over your or your friends’ walls for all to see – let them decide whether or not to divulge these things publicly. When it comes to anything potentially sensitive, rather just send the person a private message if you have something you really need to say.
It is generally not kind or considerate to post photos of your friends looking at their worst, or in compromising positions or situations. Seriously, they may be friends with their grandma on Facebook! Or their boss! Don’t be that guy – consider your friends’ dignity (and their careers) before making them look foolish on Facebook. Even if the photo isn’t particularly incriminating, it’s kind of a jerk move to post a photo of you looking like America’s Next Top Model with your buddy next to you, looking like they’re about to sneeze.
Facebook is about sharing pictures, news, info and yes, opinions. There are some people in this world who seem to be born without a filter. Often these people also seem to think that everything they have to say is of utmost importance, and they have a ‘if you don’t like it, delete me’ kind of attitude. For the rest of y’all (i.e. people who care about what others think and about their feelings), bear in mind that it is easy to misconstrue tone when reading text. This is why emoticons are great: if you want people to know you’re joking, for example, throw in a winking smiley face or two. Also, try not to post something that may make others feel alienated/targeted or insulted, and try and be informed before being overly sure of yourself regarding a specific topic. Remember who your friends are before you post, and try and see things through their eyes and how it might affect them. (Apply this thinking to your life in general, if possible.)
If you post a status or picture and people comment on it, the polite thing to do is to respond, especially if they ask you questions or offer a compliment (this is actually more like Manners 101, but hey, it’s always good to keep courtesies in check). As importantly, don’t be that person who comments on absolutely every…little…thing. It comes across as needy and sometimes even creepy. People also may think you’re stalking them, or that you don’t have a life. This may not be the case, and your actions may be well-intended, but remember: everyone is watching, and often judging, on Facebook.