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Opinion

Facebook posts require maturity, awareness

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October 22, 2009

About two to three months into my senior year of high school, 2005, a friend convinced me that I had to be a part of the “must have” online fad the world has come to know as Facebook. It seemed rather simple at the time, and I thought it was something I would check, at most, once a week. Who knew that Facebook would guzzle up copious amounts of my time talking with people that I saw pretty much every day in school. In recent months, numerous media outlets have given light to the fact that employers are increasingly searching social networking sites to check the activities and lifestyles of potential and current employees. This should be alarming to many people, considering the things that they are willing to post about themselves on the web for everyone to see. Let’s talk some Facebook etiquette.

Facebook is obviously useful for many reasons, from keeping in touch with friends that live hours away, or to send out information and updates for upcoming events and whatnot. There are so many things, however, that people will reveal about themselves, or to others, that make you ask “What the hell were they thinking?”

Since all these different forms of communication, from “wall posts” to instant messaging, lack tone, so many statements are taken in the most awkward way possible. Awkward isn’t always bad, but with some of the status updates and things people say to each other for everyone to see, it brings a whole new meaning to “no self-awareness.” 

Let’s start with a few relevant examples that I think most people can agree on. Relationships probably yield the best examples of poor Facebook etiquette. Nothing is more uncomfortable when couples take their arguments to each other’s Facebook walls.

It’s bad enough that the News Feed on Facebook is telling me how drunk (insert name) got at that party last night, but it’s even more uncomfortable when couples choose to not use the “private message” option when exchanging certain words.

One blog said it best in that “if you need a lifeline, phone a friend rather than asking the audience.” My personal favorite (of uncomfortable Facebook-ing) is when people will have many status updates, usually one right after the other, all basically saying the same thing, but each different status uses a different curse to describe their most recent ex. Apparently these people are so angry and/or heartbroken that they couldn’t even use the delete option for old statuses-how wonderful.

I also enjoy it when people think they are being subtle in their statuses pertaining to their “lost love,” but in all honesty, they couldn’t be any more obvious. Sure, sometimes you need a shoulder to cry on, but at the same time you’re telling me you need someone to slap you upside the head and say, “get over it.” 

Facebook is obviously pegged as a social networking site, but it leads to some rather anti-social tendencies. I almost feel like a lot of friend requests stem from “Hey, I’ve seen you on campus before!” or

“Yeah, you lent me a pen that one time in speech class.” 

It annoys the hell out of me when people will be bold enough to add you on Facebook, and then refuse to make any sort of contact (like a simple “hello”) in real life. Most Facebook users have had these sorts of situations, as well as a story or two, I’m sure, about some persistent soul that won’t take a hint after attempting to add you 93 times that “hey, um, no thanks.” 

Though I’m sure I could write a short novel on all the other things that are incredibly improper about certain actions on Facebook, I’m going to touch on one that personally makes me cringe every time I see someone “break” this rule.

Honestly, letting the world know how blitzed you got the other night does not make you sound like a badass, but instead, makes you sound like an absolute tool. Let’s clear the air in that I believe having a beer with friends is often necessary and encouraged, being that you’re of age of course. However, a photo of you becoming a canvas for “Sharpie” art probably isn’t the best way to impress employers, either.

There are so many things that make Facebook a great way to kill some time in between classes, as well as keep up on what your friends are doing.

There will always be, however, so many awkward situations that stem from extensive Facebook use, and quite honestly, most users will fall victim to a few embarrassing situations.

Hopefully people are able to get a few harmless laughs out their “missteps,” but at the same time keep their awareness up that everything you say, is indeed, for every and anybody to see.