The finer points of Facebook etiquette

By
September 21, 2010

Have you ever been “friend requested” by your roommate’s ex’s cousin and felt unsure if you should click “confirm”? Almost ten million Americans over the age of 55 now have a Facebook profile.

What will happen when your nana comments on your party photos?

Technology sometimes advances faster than our social norms and customs can keep up with. Facebook is one example: although the social networking site is now a nearly ubiquitous form of interaction, social etiquette has not yet crossed the divide onto the internet. The Campanil staff compiled the following tips for improving your Facebook Etiquette.

First off, friend requests.

The only way to build your online social network and the bane of many a Facebook user’s existence. One thing most students agree with is to not friend request anyone you have never met in person. The only exceptions we’ve found include friends or family of people you know very well, and are planning on meeting in the near future. For example, if you are going camping with your best friend’s cousin, you might request them a week prior to the trip. However, you might not.

The reason to not request anyone you don’t know in person is as a human being, your mind will project your views and ideas onto them. You will make judgments based on appearance and interests before meeting the person and having the opportunity to evaluate them based on personality and actions.

Status updates are another Facebook utility that require some constraint. More constraint than many people are capable of, according to by the popularity of TMI status updates on sites such as Lamebook and Failbook, which anonymously recount Facebook mishaps.

Many users appear to forget that what they write appears to everyone in their friends’ network, or maybe they just really don’t care. Regardless of your personal indiscretion, the majority of people do not want a up close and personal, detailed play-by-play of your life. Another common and flagrant transgression is the repeated use of song lyrics as an update.

We feel that the occasional song lyric update may be acceptable, but doing it consistently might show a lack of creativity. Or expose you as consistently listening to bad music, perhaps something much worse.

Another Facebook behavior which may have serious psychological effects is prolonged Facebook stalking. If we were to make a food pyramid of an ideal way to spend time on Facebook, stalking would be at the top–use it sparingly.

We know everyone does it –- but wouldn’t those hours spent stalking your ex’s new girlfriend or your highly-more-successful-than-you grade school best friend have been better spent elsewhere? Who knows, you might have even had time to find your own more impressive date, internship, luxury home, etc., etc.

Finally, a topic of heated controversy: The Relationship Status.

How long should you wait to post it? Should you post it? And isn’t it a little bit weird to “like” someone’s break-up so publicly? If you just started dating someone, definitely postpone those fateful clicks. After you confirm, you’re going to have to break up twice if anything happens.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which breakup is harder – that click might seem easy, but it’s not. Most of us here are against having a Facebook relationship thanks to some unpleasant clicks we’ve suffered. Don’t do it unless you’re really sure–really, really sure.

We hope this advice will inform your future Facebook decisions. Happy social networking!


The finer points of Facebook etiquette was published on September 21, 2010 in Editorial, Letters to the Editor, Opinions

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