This post is trying to focus on the upcoming new year with a focus on self-improvement through kinder and more polite communications online. With more and more friendships having the bulk of their communications through Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, there is a reason to wonder if common courtesy, politeness, and self-respect have carried over to the world of social media from the real world. Have you ever seen a status update or photo on Facebook and wondered why someone would share that with the world? Or maybe you blocked someone and then thought, is that the Internet equivalent of a restraining order? Perhaps you’ve even asked someone a question on their wall only to see it later disappear unanswered. Well, these resources may help you muddle through that and I am adding a bit of my common sense to the mix between the links.
Facebook Can Be Fairly Private and Polite with a Few Small Adjustments
If you want to extend your Facebook friends to those who aren’t in your ‘circle of trust’ or immediate family, definitely follow steps to create friend groups and assign privacy settings to those groups. It means that your boss won’t see photos of you boozing it up on the weekend and your parents won’t see pics your friends tag of you. This is probably also important if you are dating multiple people at once!
Ultimate Facebook Guide: How To, Tips, Tricks, Etiquette by Kevin Eklund
Facebook: Threats to Privacy (2005, MIT)
If Someone Asks You a Question, You Don’t Have to Answer It. It Is Probably None of Their Business
In this day and age when an Internet survey asks personal questions, many of us do not hesitate to answer questions, no matter the topic. But really, the question asker should have no expectation of response given it is your right to retain your information at any given time. Even if you just don’t feel like telling someone what color socks you are wearing, they have no valid recourse to get upset.
Social Etiquette and Good Manners from All Experts
Facebook Etiquette Rules People Still Break from Sherweb blog (they have requested we remove our link to their site so just Google the part in italics to find this article)
Blocking Someone on Facebook or Twitter is a Socially-acceptable and Fairly Informal form of Restraining Order
Amazingly, blocking someone on Facebook can be done because they annoy you or because they have stalked you and threatened your life. I can’t think of another option in life that gives people so much control over what they are exposed to. All the literature says no one will know you’ve blocked them, but use your common sense and realize that if you were friends before you blocked or if you have mutual friends, they will find out and be hurt, angry, or relieved. Facebook says there’s no way to tell you’ve been blocked but if you were friends with someone or ever sent someone a message or posted on their wall, it will be obvious when suddenly your name has been replaced with “Facebook User”. If you are going to unfriend someone, have the decency to write them and explain why. I unfriended two people this year simply because I barely knew them and we never communicated. I explained this and wished them the best in individual notes on Facebook BEFORE unfriending them. After all, neither did anything to offend me, I just had too many friends and wanted to stick with people I actually interact with.
Facebook Etiquette: Deleting Friends by Peggy M. Parks
Facebook Etiquette: Cruel to Be Kind, in the Wrong Measure from Newsome.org
What Happens When you Block Someone on Facebook from Buzzle
How to Unblock Friends on Facebook from Buzzle
Just Because You Have Mutual Friends, Doesn’t Mean You Need to Be Friends
There are many wonderful people out there, but accepting or initiating a new friend request means you will have one more person who sends you updates in your News Feed. Would you rather hear about this nearly-a-stranger is doing on Farmville or see updates on your best buds back home?
Not Everyone Recognizes the Value of Your Farm, Your Mafia, or Your Virtual World
Games are for your entertainment and, honestly, they are much more fun to play than to read about someone else playing so consider limiting what you share so your friends don’t block you from their News Feeds. Because one day you may share that you are a grandmother and no one will still be listening.