Thursday, February 19, 2015

10 rules for saving face & avoiding a Facebook faux pas

(Originally posted May 4, 2011;
reposted here with minor edits
& some updates)

I was initially reluctant to get on Facebook, but now am an avid (although sometimes aggravated) user. I try to be thoughtful in what I post and how I comment on others’ posts. I wish everyone would be as thoughtful and careful.

Among my pet peeves – and I have many – are the ways some people, in my opinion, abuse Facebook. So here are a few rules I’d like to suggest.

1. Keep your comment(s) related to the post to which it is attached. If you want to address an unrelated topic with the poster, message them via their inbox or chat. And if you want to communicate with someone who has commented, do it on their page or inbox them.

2. Make your comment short and to the point. Use your own Notes to share treatises, diatribes, and expound on your soap-box issues. In many cases, it’s best to just keep your quirky ideas to yourself.

3. Avoid daisy-chaining your comments. This is related to #2. If you can’t express yourself within the limitations of one comment box, then just be quiet. No one wants to read a book on Facebook.
Caveat to #2 & #3. Sometimes a longer comment may be called for, but this should be the exception. First, craft your response using Word. This will help you avoid spelling errors. Second, edit and rewrite it down as much as possible. Third, copy and paste it into the appropriate comment box.It’s hard enough to write a short comment directly in the comment box, long ones are impossible!  Fourth, check it one more time before making the post live.
Tip: Use two keys to create paragraph breaks! Use Shift+Enter to create a paragraph within a comment without posting it. Using only Enter posts the comment.

4. Match the tone of your comment to the tone of the Post. If the post is humorous, keep your comment light. If the posting is serious, don’t crack wise in your comment. If you’re not sure if the post is humorous or serious, then don’t comment.

5. Don’t start a fight in public on their page. If you thoroughly disagree with what someone has posted, be very careful how you respond. Don’t be insulting or abusive. Perhaps the best response is to hide that specific post so it doesn’t show up in your feed, and then inbox the person if you really need to get something off your chest. But be careful with your inbox message, too.

6. Eliminate foul language! Keep in mind that your posts can be read by a variety of people, young and old, who may be offended by foul, gutter language. Current or potential employers can find your posts. Do not use foul or abusive language on Facebook, in blogs, or anywhere else on the Internet. It will come back to haunt you. And it really isn’t cute or clever at all.

7. Avoid mixing drinking and commenting! Don’t, under any circumstances, comment when you’re not sober. Just as it’s dangerous to drive when you’re drunk, it’s just as dangerous to your reputation and character to post stupid rants on Facebook while drunk. It’s even more tragic if you’re angry and drunk. Just turn off the computer and watch TV or go to bed.
Tip: You can edit most of your posts and comments. On posts, look for the little down arrow (v) located on the top right. Click it to reveal the menu. On comments, hover your mouse over the comment and look for the pencil icon that will appear on the right side. Click it to reveal the menu.

8. Be civil. Yes, this is a free country, you are entitled to your opinions, and political correctness can be maddening. Still, as it always has been, civility is the better way to go. Avoid being intentionally insulting to people and their beliefs. There really is no need and it just makes you come across like a jerk.

9. Don’t post angry. Step away from the computer and take a breath. Just as when we're confronted with a heated situation face-to-face, take some time to cool down and rethink the situation before commenting. If you’ve posted something in anger and realize later that you have offended or crossed a line, you can delete the post. But, you can’t make those who have read it forget it. The best response is sometimes no response.

10. Before commenting on a shared link, read the linked item! If someone posts an article, read the article before you like it or comment to ensure you really do like it and that your comment is relevant and appropriate.
These are just a few rules. I could probably come up with more.

Such as, if you’re going to be on Facebook, learn how to use Facebook.  There are plenty of useful tips right within Facebook in the Help section.

In fact, you can search right from the search box at the top of the page and find answers to just about any question you have about how to use Facebook.

There are also a variety of good books that explain all the ins and outs of Facebook in simple, clear terms. Get one and keep it next to your computer.

Oh, and be sure to use good grammar.

And of course, check your spelling.

Okay, maybe I should stop now.

Just remember, above all, be civil.

Relevant link:

What are your Facebook or general social media pet peeves? Have you ever embarrassed yourself on social media? Do you hate or love social media? What are some tips you can offer for behaving on social media? Share (nicely) in the comments!

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