Navigating Facebook can sometimes feel as complicated as navigating a minefield. Some people spend a really long time perfecting an online image, while others update every few minutes about the minute details of their lives. Some break out into fights over politics, while others are perpetual sharers. Here are some general tips to keep your friends from unsubscribing from your status updates. (Keep in mind, these general rules can be tailored to your own experience.)
DO be kind to others. Remember what Flower told Bambi and Thumper? If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. This applies to Facebook. Just because you’re behind a screen doesn’t mean there aren’t real people on the other side! So refrain from mean comments, and also freely give compliments, even if you haven’t talked to the person in a while. We can all use a kind word here and there. So whether you love someone’s new profile photo or you’re proud of an old high school friend for an accomplishment, let them know. You never know what type of day someone’s having and your compliment could be the difference between a great day and a bad.
DON’T use Facebook statuses as personal diaries and/or passive aggressive updates and/or platforms to fight with your friends or significant other. Save the rants for a conversation with a close friend, as things on the Internet tend to live forever.
DO know your audience. It can be challenging to decipher tone through text, so try to keep what you’re saying clear to avoid any unnecessary hurt feelings.
DON’T spam your poor, dear friends. This includes constant status updates (for that, try a Twitter account), perpetual self-promotional updates (this one’s hard for me, oops), and invitations to play games. If you know your friend plays the same game you do, then by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, it’s better just to turn game notifications off. Do your friends really need to know if you’ve reached level 57 in Candy Crush?
DO be mindful of those who can see your Facebook before you post not only on your page, but someone else’s. People’s grandmas are on Facebook these days, y’all!
DON’T let your closest friends and family discover you’ve got engaged/are pregnant/eloped to Paris via Facebook. It’s hurtful for Aunt Suzie to learn about it at the same time that girl you haven’t talked to since kindergarten does.
DO remember to breathe and try to keep things in perspective. People are going to say things that are mean; they’re also going to say things that are offensive, hurtful, and downright cruel. Consider the source, and if you need to, walk away. That’s the beauty of Facebook, after all. All you need to do is close your computer. And remember, no one’s life is as glamorous as it seems on the Internet. You, and your life, are pretty awesome, too!
This is the third part in a series about using Facebook the right way. Click here to read the others.