By Tiffany Hasker
It’s not always easy to grasp the unspoken rules of the social network. So be aware of Facebook etiquette — what’s appropriate and what’s not — lest you offend or alienate your “friends.”
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to social interactions, so take each recommendation with a grain of salt and decide what is right for you.
If someone took the time to respond to what you posted, it’s polite to reciprocate. You wouldn’t just ignore a person’s comment in face-to-face interactions, would you? If you regularly don’t respond, chances are high that people will stop replying or even reading what you post.
2. Show gratitude and share.
If you learned something because of a friend’s post, thank him or her. Likewise, post interesting content that you come across. Don’t share only family and food pictures; share what you know and are interested in as well — unless what you’re interested in is Bejeweled Blitz. Those types of game shares quickly get you “hidden” from people’s News Feeds.
3. Be careful of your tone.
Having a venue to advocate for what you believe in is one of the benefits of the Facebook platform. Be aware, however, of alienating people with dogmatic and harsh opinionated posts that leave no room for debate and discussion. Use this platform as a way to engage people who may not understand the issue as well as you do, rather than to blast those who think differently than you do. Be strong in your convictions, but remember to do so with respect for our shared humanity. Your posts will be much more welcome this way.
4. Ignore away.
You are under no obligation to accept a Facebook friend request. This is especially important to remember when it comes to students — you set boundaries every day with them in the real world, so why should it be any different on Facebook? Just politely tell the person that you like to keep your Facebook page restricted and you hope they understand, and leave it at that. Another, perhaps gentler, way of dealing with this situation is to add iffy contacts to a severely restricted limited profile list.
1. Tag friends unless they are OK with it.
No one likes the sinking feeling you get when you log in to Facebook to find 36 notifications, and the first one reads “[friend from high school] tagged you in her ‘Spring Break’ photo album.” It’s just not cool! Get permission before tagging, or at the very least only tag innocuous pictures that you know won’t embarrass someone.
2. Post before proofing.
Typos are excused, but an embarrassing overshare is not. We’ve all read them, and cringed over them. So, it’s simple: Think before you post. No one wants to be involved in someone else’s online marital dispute or aware of your bowel trouble. And before clicking “submit” on any post, ask yourself, “So what?” When we read status updates like “headed to the gym, then going to get some dinner” — so what?
3. Post too often.
A little goes a long way on Facebook. If you’ve just posted something about your basketball team’s triumph, you will want to wait at least half a day before sharing the pics from your daughter’s T-ball game. Don’t assume we’re all waiting to hear every little pearl of wisdom you’ve got or see every picture you take. Remember, a little goes a long way. Rule of thumb: Posting once or twice a day is just fine.
Ask yourself: “Should I really post this comment?” If you hesitate, you probably shouldn’t. Overcommenting makes you look like you spend your entire day glued to your computer. Think you may be overcommenting on a particular person’s posts? Ask yourself if the person also comments on your posts. Regular and reciprocated comment exchange does not fall into the overcommenting category, but if it’s one-sided in your favor, you might be overdoing it. When you constantly comment on a person’s posts and that person never comments on yours, you start to fall into the Facebook stalker category, and your friends may find that creepy.
Use your best judgment and always think before you post. Find CTA on Facebook at facebook.com/californiateachersassociation. We will happily accept your comments there!
Here is more advice from CTA’s Facebook friends: www.cta.org/fbetiquettepost.