Facebook and I have a love-hate relationship. Facebook loves stealing hours of my life and I hate them for it. Since I only set notification alerts for very close friends, sometimes I worry an important event will escape me. What if someone was in a terrible accident and their spouse is asking for prayers? What if my kid is being bullied and I’m not watching it real-time?
I have an evil twin living inside my brain that lies to me and tells me I must be connected to my social media accounts 24/7 or I will certainly miss out on something. But I’m noticing my Facebook stream is becoming cluttered. With static. With fluff. With unimportant updates. With pictures of food (we all know what food looks like, so you don’t need to post pictures of it on Facebook unless you are a professional food blogger). I’m so over advertisements asking me to like pages along the lines of Huggies and Spanx. I wouldn’t publicly like those pages even if I do use those products anyway. Duh.
There isn’t a definitive Facebook social media etiquette handbook per se, but here’s a few things I really think people should stop doing on Facebook to make it more enjoyable for everyone else:
1. Posting incessant selfies. Here’s Google’s definition of selfie: A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. Occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary. If the master of the web universe (Google) says you shouldn’t take a picture of yourself everyday then you should probably listen. If you’re over 26 nobody wants to see all of your angles all the time. Of course, there are a few exceptions: If you’ve just received an amazing haircut. If you’ve scored a good deal at the mall and you’re wearing it and want to share it with all of us so we can score it too. Or if you’ve been in an accident and you want to document the damage to your face so you can pursue litigation and retire early. Those are all fine, selfie away.
2. Posting religious or political rants. Don’t get all offended. I love Jesus and all. I just don’t want to hear your opinion about how I should love Jesus. Or that I’m a bad Christian because I celebrate Halloween. I also don’t want to hear about why I’m evil if I vote for the person you don’t want me to vote for. I sort of have a defiance disorder and I might vote for the person you don’t want me to vote for because you pissed me off by cluttering up my newsfeed with all of your political rants. But the real truth is that I’ve hidden all of your posts. Now I’ll never see any of your really important posts like whether your kid won the national chess tournament and whatnot. Kudos to Facebook for inventing their hide posts feature.
3. Talking about how little you make or that you can’t find a good job. Your audience does not want to join your pity party. Read the book, The Secret and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and every other book out there geared toward being a high-wage earner. Prospective employers troll social media sites. Be confident in your skill set and don’t let on that you’re suffering financially. Have you ever heard of the fake it until you make it mantra? Apply that to your social media posts and I promise you’ll get better job offers. According to Bob Beaudine who wrote the book The Power of Who: You Already Know Everyone You Need to Know, someone out there who you’re already friends with can connect you to the perfect job. Remember, social media is a public forum. If you wouldn’t say it in a normal social situation then don’t say it. And for the love of all things holy don’t post that your husband doesn’t make enough money and you wish you could afford x (fill in the blank with whatever it is you’re coveting). Stop it right now.
4. Posting disgusting pictures. Imagine this: The sun is rising, I’m enjoying a hot cup of amazing coffee, and I’m singing a happy tune. I decide to scroll Facebook only to land on your disgusting picture of an aborted fetus. You just made me throw up, curse the new day, and crawl back into bed. Now I hate you and I’ve blocked every post of yours from here until the end of time. The world needs crazies so us writers can write about them but that crap crosses the line. I love babies and I’m a mom and very emotional at 6 a.m. Don’t EVER put those pictures in front of my face without any warning. Same goes for posting injuries on Facebook or Instagram. I don’t want to see a picture of your broken leg before its been set, your face right after a laser peel, or your thumb that you just sliced off. Gross!
5. Posting pictures of you getting high or holding getting-high apparatuses. I have a Facebook friend who is also a very distant relative. This person lives in an area where he/she can smoke weed legally. I cringe every time I see this person’s pictures and wonder what their mother thinks. I highly doubt this person will land an uber-professional job, but I don’t think he/she really cares. In my humble opinion you should keep those types of activities to yourself. Once you post pictures to social media you can never take them back with 100% certainty someone isn’t keeping a copy somewhere.
6. Posting pictures with captions about how in love you are and how much your significant other loves you. This is okay on your anniversary, during vacations, and on Valentine’s Day. Any more than that it just makes you look insecure in your relationship and lacking self-esteem. Do you need all of us to like your status so we can reassure you that you really do have an enduring, passionate relationship? In case you didn’t know, unless you’re getting divorced you can assume your social media audience knows there’s love there. Just post the cute pictures and skip the intimate details. We’ll figure it out and we’ll love you for being the strong, confident person that you are.
7. Posting everyday. STOP WITH THE LISTS! I can’t even tell you how annoying it is to see the joy lists, the thankful lists, the countdown to Christmas lists, you know what I’m talking about. I’m all about being positive and finding joy in every situation, but come on. I really don’t need to know EVERYTHING on the planet you’re thankful for. It’s kind of like when my three-year-old prays for an hour… “Thank you for candy, thank you for trees, thank you for my trucks…” I’ve fallen asleep already. The first few days of your posts can be entertaining, but I don’t want to see a new post to your daily list showing up in my stream for thirty days straight. If you really must jump on the list posting bandwagon, stagger it a little. No one will care if you miss a day, trust me.
It’s easy to make social media faux pas every once in a while, it’s part of the territory. Watch your posts that are getting high engagement from your audience and take notes. We all just want to be entertained, have a good laugh, and stay connected. Use social media the right way. If you aren’t doing anything I listed above, you’re already on the right track and probably not on the naughty list in the eyes of your Facebook audience.