More Facebook etiquette blunders
Last week I touched on a few etiquette blunders common to Facebook. As I wrote, the list of questionable situations continued to grow. There are multiple ways to faux pas on FB, and as such, last week's column has morphed into a twofer. There are...
Last week I touched on a few etiquette blunders common to Facebook. As I wrote, the list of questionable situations continued to grow. There are multiple ways to faux pas on FB, and as such, last week’s column has morphed into a twofer.
There are certain rules - or perhaps better put, norms - Facey users follow. The first of them being: If you take a selfie, you post the selfie. Most people are excellent at remembering to take selfies. Unfortunately, I am not most people. I am afflicted with selfie amnesia. I go to restaurants, sporting events and even family get-togethers and completely forget my selfie duties. When I get home and want to report on my adventures, I’m selfie-less and without a photo to accompany my prose. It’s a wonder anyone likes any of my posts.
We all have lots of friends on Facebook - more than in real life. All it takes to be a Facey friend is the click of a mouse. A real life friendship requires time and effort. I couldn’t possibly have 572 real life friends, but I manage that number on social media with ease. Here’s the conundrum: What happens when one of your FB friends - who isn’t a real friend - is at the grocery store on aisle four at the same time as you? Do you say hello, or do you pretend not to notice them even though you liked their family selfie at the sushi bar less than 24 hours earlier?
I don’t pretend to possess the answers. I just ask the pertinent questions.
Similarly as charming - not to mention awkward - what do you do when you get a friend request from someone you know in real life but aren’t friends with, nor are you interested in becoming friends? Say the loud and obnoxious guy from work wants to be your FB friend. If you ignore or deny his request, he’ll corner you in the break room and create a confrontation you’d rather avoid. If you accept, you’ll be bombarded by his selfies, memes and political comments on your newsfeed.
Facebook is known for its Like button. People assess the success of their post based on the number of likes it gets. But what do you do when a person makes a sad post - about losing their job, crashing their car, a pending divorce, their dog dying or some other depressing news? Some people hit the Like button, I assume to show support for the crisis. I have a hard time with this because it seems I am liking the catastrophe. I could comment, and sometimes do, but we all know commenting requires quadruple the energy of liking. Some people have voiced a need for a Dislike button, which seems reasonable for dire news situations. Mr. Zuckerberg should consider it.
Another situation that makes me squirm is when someone refers to a monumental and life-changing event - either happy or sad - and I have no idea what they are talking about: "I can’t believe this happened to me again. I have the worst luck in the world! Life sucks." Or, equally excruciating: "I’m on cloud nine! I finally got it! Best day ever!" How do you respond when you are unsure about what you are liking or commenting on? Sometimes another person who is also in the dark posts a comment asking about what is happening. I’m thankful for their candor. I scroll through all the comments looking for the answer from the original poster, but it’s hardly ever there. If curiosity gets the best of me, I go to their FB page and scroll through recent items to see if I can figure out what the heck is going on in their life. I mostly come up empty, so it’s basically a waste of time - kind of like scrolling uncontrollably.
There’s a Facebook faux pas none of us can relate to.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author.