Status Matters: Top 10 Facebook Don’ts

Can I just say that I love the advent of sites like Failbook and Lamebook because they publicize what I’ve been thinking all along? Think before you update.

I’m not going to be like someone’s HR representative and say you must keep all of your social networking professional, but there is definitely a line between being social and being stupid.

I used to ban myself from doing the following:

a) writing anything slightly related to relationships or men

b) writing something emo that merits a pity party or makes me look depressed

c) updating dramatics (including complaints, frustrations, anger towards something) that would cause a negative reaction from friends

d) friending professional contacts and family members outside of my brother and sister

e) swearing

f) referring in any way to drinking or going out in a social setting

Today, I still think some of those values hold true, but I’ve loosened up a bit on who I friend. Sometimes it’s nice to see your fellow coworkers, bosses, or acquaintances in a non-work environment. I get a little peek into their passions, loved ones, and daily lives. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find out you have something more in common than your job.

The reason Failbook and Lamebook are so popular is because we all have a Facebook friend who does the things they make fun of. We all have the emo friend, the inappropriate friend, the friend that advertises how much they party, who they date, misspells EVERYTHING, complains about his or her job, and gives off a negative online persona. Do we all have the right to do these things? Yes. But should we? That’s another story.

My favorite Lamebook example thus far:

And from Failbook….

Here are my personal recommendations on ways to avoid such humiliation. Below are my top 10 DONTs on Facebook (and I guess Twitter for that matter)

1) Do not friend your parents. Even if your profile is relatively clean, you never know when it backfires. Say you tell a white lie that you stayed in and did homework when instead you went out. Say your friend gets inebriated one night and writes something private on there that your parents find first (because if they’re anything like my parents, they get up hours before me). Honestly, they will either lather your page with comments and “likes” or they’ll catch something inappropriate that you or your silly friends write.

2) Do not engage in a heated political or social debate via someone’s wall comments. If someone wants to post an article in favor of health care or gay marriage, don’t use that as an excuse to go on a soapbox. Facebook isn’t really a forum to have intense fights with your friends or your friend’s friends. Take it outside, people.

3) Do not write emo statuses unless you’re willing to acknowledge that you are in an emo mood for the irony of it or if it’s clear you aren’t about to jump off a bridge.  It’s uncomfortable for people to read and makes whatever is wrong seem silly or melodramatic. If you really do feel those sad feelings, broadcasting it to the world probably won’t help and will in fact isolate you more.

Sidenote: Emo songs are also included. I do love my share of Death Cab and Celine Dion, but paragraphs of heart-wrenching lyrics won’t change your luck in life. We’ve all had emo moments, but do you really want everyone to know? A blog dedicated to those thoughts or poetry might be better.

4) Do not make your profile open to the public. Do you really want ANYONE scrolling through your photos, your info and what people say? I took it a step further and made myself unsearchable, but there’s no need to go that extreme. I would advise making it open to your friends only.

5) Don’t post an entire album dedicated to your Mac Photobooth picture twists. Everyone who gets a new Mac does the whole picture distortion thing and it’s just weird.

6) Don’t friend your exes or their new girlfriend or boyfriend. It might be a fun game at first among your friends, but it ends up eating up hours of your time at night when you’re having one of your emo days…which in turn leads to more emo statuses.

7) Don’t over post on your own page. It makes you seem like you’re on Facebook too much or that nobody cares enough to post on your page.

8 ) Don’t gush to your significant other on Facebook. I’m not saying don’t show some online loving, but if your girlfriend takes up your last 10 posts, it might be too much. No need for an album of kissing pictures, closeups of you gazing into each others’ eyes, or little virtual gifts when you’re too cheap to buy a candy bar or something.  It’s not pleasant to look at and it makes it seem like you’re compensating for something missing in your real-world relationship.

9) For the love of God…no Animal farms (farmville?) no virtual pets, no sorority life games, nothing other than the simple act of social networking and article/picture posting. If your page is filled with little turtles and giraffes, you have to find a new hobby.

10) Always log out. If you use a school computer and simply click off of Firefox, your profile is still logged in and subject to embarrassing posts from strangers. Also, NEVER give your password to anyone unless you have theirs in return. I’ve seen too many girlfriends hijack their boyfriend’s Facebooks and what dark direction that turns. And YES…even log out on your own personal computer. I’ve had my Facebook hijacked while going to the bathroom in my dorm. And don’t make your password your name. If you do, then you deserve to get it hijacked.

If you have more, please leave a comment.

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4 thoughts on “Status Matters: Top 10 Facebook Don’ts

  1. 11) DO NOT post condescending or mean comments about your classmates DURING class, especially when you are facebook friends with them or many of their friends! My law school class has gone on a “facebook-during-class” frenzy, commenting on live slipups from professors (like when our professor accidentally uses the term ‘wacking off’ in the wrong context), hating on the gunners, complaining about 1 hour class extensions, or giving praises to the shy ones who get their first cold call (I got 5 comments and 6 likes on my first one!).

    I’m all for in-class bonding via fb– it lets me know that I’m not the only one who is confused, bored, or judging the annoying kid in class for telling the professor he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It also helps the time pass quicker. However, commenting right after someone has a bad cold call things like “ouch she shoulda prepared,” or “really, why are u in law school?” are just over the line. Posting d-bag comments about your classmates, who are just as nervous and over worked as you, do not deserve to be embarrassed twice, especially in the most passive- aggressive way aside from talking shit behind their backs. This is more like talking shit about someone to a large group (like anyone who can see their newsfeed!) and the other person can see it but do nothing but post a “WTF?!” underneath. It’s uncool, makes people look bad anyway, and is hypocritical cuz lets face it– if you’re on fb all class period you’re probably not the best student either

  2. I second always logging out when you’re on a public computer. I always clear the browser’s cache and reboot the machine to be sure. You’re always taking a risk on a public machine, especially ones you can install programs on. Remember: if you can install a program, someone else can install a keylogger.

    Right on the Farmville. I never understood the app thing, it’s waaaaay too insecure. You’re basically opening your profile up to anyone that programs some dumb quiz or game. It says so right there when you add an app from an outside developer.

    I used to have a policy of not friending professors or bosses or professional contacts, but the privacy controls worked miracles for me. I keep my wall turned off for everyone but a set few friends that I actually want to talk to (including my parents, they’re cool with whatever), so I can say whatever I want. Everyone else just gets the info and photos sections.

    I don’t swear on Twitter since it’s mostly for work (well, not copiously anyway), but since I control my Facebook wall it’s all mine.

    I keep the info section to a minimum too. No one really cares what my top 50 bands are, or if they do the conversation comes up when we’re actually listening to music together. I think right now the only thing in my info section is a link to a picture of Kurt Cobain giving a kitten to his daughter to play with. I feel that this image sums up my musical tastes, activities, interests, favorite quotes, and about me pretty well.

    One thing to note is that as of this posting there are no privacy controls on your fan pages; anybody on Facebook can see those. You might want to be careful of what you are a fan of: I’ve become a fan of some nonprofits and other organizations, but I won’t fan politicians (not because I’m trying to be an objective journalist so much as I just really hate all politicians). But if you *were* wanting to be an objective journalist you should be careful of that. More careful than some journalism profs I know who are fans of President Obama, anyway. Yikes.

  3. I feel like 4) is a double edged sword. If I don’t make my profile open to the public, the first thing that shows up when you search for my name is Lauren Orsini’s profile, the FB prof of another girl with my name, who definitely likes to engage in a lot of activities I don’t endorse. If multiple profiles don’t show up, I worry that people will think that she is me!

    Then again, I guess the best solution would be to get so many hits to my blog that THAT is what shows up first.

  4. Pingback: Climate Change, American University, Twitter, Facebook, Iran, Haiti, Kim Kardashian: A Lesson in Search Engine Optimization « A Year in Training

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