Almost all of us have used Facebook at some point or another in our lives. Not all of us have said or done only the right things when on there though. This short sample essay examines some of the do’s and don’ts when using social media networking platforms like Facebook.
When using Facebook (or other social networking or social media websites), there are three key elements of etiquette should apply to everyone’s activities. Whether making a statement, sharing a link, or publishing photos, Facebook users should use these three rules of thumb to guide their behavior: don’t post inflammatory or knee-jerk statements, don’t mix work and personal life, and always be sure to moderate the amount of comments and links that you post.
Ranting and raving on Facebook
One of the biggest mistakes that social media users make is posting inflammatory rants or knee-jerk responses to events, whether in their own life, or in current events. In fact, unless you happen to be a particularly influential opinion leader – i.e., an elected official or a well-known member of the community at large – you probably shouldn’t be using your Facebook account as a soapbox whatsoever. People befriend you on Facebook so that they can interact with you – not so you can carry out the virtual equivalent of shouting at them. Hence, you should avoid this kind of behavior, not only for the comfort of your friends, but to avoid being profiled as an “instigator” if an employer, client, or other business connection happens to gain access to your posts.
Research facts before sharing
One of the biggest pitfalls of loving facebook is being tricked by something that’s simply not true. Facebook’s “like and share” posts are the new chain letter. If you see something posted on your wall, but feel it may be inaccurate or just plain untrue, a little research may just clear things up, and make you come out looking all the wiser. A quick check on a site like Snopes.com can clear up a lot of misconceptions.
Work vs. personal facebook statuses
Next: don’t mix your work and personal life. First, unless you’re certain that your friends will definitely appreciate you promoting your company, don’t do it. As a general rule, if you’re not promoting a charitable cause, or offering something at a discount, chances are that none of your friends will care, and most of them will resent being advertised to. Further, managers and other people in positions of authority at businesses need to consider: do you really need to friend employees on Facebook? (Hint: The answer is NO). Unless you have a social history that’s been established outside of the workplace, leave employees alone on Facebook. You should respect their privacy and they shouldn’t feel pressured to friend you because of your position at work.
Ease back on the posting!
Finally: moderate the amount of content you post on Facebook. It’s simply not a high-speed social media platform like Twitter, and those that treat it like one tend to get silenced from their friends’ “feed”, or get unfriended outright. You really don’t need to share every little thing that you found amusing or interesting, and if you do, your Facebook friends will come to view your posts as pollution, rather than content that’s worth paying attention to – which effectively negates the purpose of using Facebook in the first place. So don’t exhaust your friends with an endless stream of junk that you’ll forget about minutes after you post it. Save your time, and their feed space, for posts that actually matter.
These rules of Facebook etiquette also cross over into the workplace. For instance, employees that spend their time ranting and raving to their coworkers are generally viewed as a nuisance, and often serve as a detriment to productivity. Individuals that overzealously share information about their personal lives in the workplace can often inadvertently alienate, offend, or just outright annoy coworkers. And finally: everyone usually dislikes the sort of employee that causes e-mail clutter for everybody by forwarding mass amounts of e-mail to everyone.
• Don’t post rants, inflammatory content, or other poorly-thought-out text or images. It will just offend, annoy, or alienate your friends or followers.
• Don’t mix your work and personal life too much. Don’t use your personal Facebook account as a business promotional tool, and in most cases, you shouldn’t be trying to friend your coworkers.
• Don’t be a spammer. Flooding your friends’ feeds with junk is more than just annoying – it’s vain.
• Apply these principles in the workplace in order to maintain or grow your social capital there.