So you've been hooked onto the social media thingy. Now all you need to do is to learn how to use it properly. This can be a problem because not only do you need to work out what button does what, but you also need to work out how to use the format in a socially acceptable way.
Think to the way you use a telephone. It rings. You pick up. If you know the caller from caller ID, you acknowledge the caller by stating their name and inquiring after their health. If not the conversation runs as below.
"Hello, John Matthews speaking."
"Hello John, this is Fred Nerk calling."
"Ah Fred. Good to hear from you. How are you?"
A few social pleasantries are exchanged and then the purpose of the call is raised.
The above example is the protocol for telephone conversation. Each party introducing themselves and discussing some light conversation before getting into the meat of the conversation.
Facebook users are still working out the rules. Here are some that need stating.
Keep your Game Achievements sparse.
You are most welcome to play any of the many facebook games you like, but please keep the number of updates you share with your friends to a minimum. Game makers want you to share your progress lots, so will pop up any number of dialog boxes to encourage you to tell your friends how well you are doing on SuperMafiaNinjaTreasureFarmVille. This is so the game maker can get your friends to play the game and therefore generate more income for themselves through advertising banners on the page and the purchase of special items. Resist the temptation to publish every little achievement as this turns your news sheet into a running log of "Bob levelLed up AGAIN." "Bob earned his 87th chicken" "Bob found an attractive stone with a hole through it" "Bob has lost his life outside this sad game and can only post about playing flash games".
A few posts from the game are acceptable, My rule is no more than three updates concerning games in any 24 hour period. If the game gives you a chance to comment on the achievement, please do, as it adds to the social nature of the communication, making it more like small talk and less like spam from game makers.
Major news should never be announced via facebook to close family.
An issue came up recently when a friend of mine found out he was to become an uncle via Facebook. This is bad form. Just because it is an easier way to communicate does not make it the best way to communicate the message.
As a rule of thumb, I would call all people who need telephone calls about the topic. Hang the expense. It's important news. To people who don't rate a phone call, try an SMS or MMS. It's a little more personal. Then afterwards, compose a Facebook message for all your distant friends to rejoice at.
Death needs 24 hours before it is posted to Facebook.
Death has always had a list of taboos surrounding it in all cultures. Ours is no exception. Give people time to find out via the family before plastering it on Facebook. This allows the shock to wear off a bit before the person can grieve publicly. Otherwise some poor family member discovers that their relative is dead and may find their shock turning to anger because of the way they found out. It is better that family members have this space to grieve privately before doing it publicly.
Do not use a logged on Facebook account as an opportunity to be funny.
If you find a computer with the browser open to someone else's Facebook account, quietly log out the other user and inform them that they left themselves logged in. Do not deface their news reel with statements about their sexuality, football team or other funny thing. I have yet to see a comment along these lines that has made me LOL, let alone LMAO or even do a coffee spit. It is sad and petty. You are bigger than that. Act so.
And I'm out of rules for the time being. So shall ask people for more now. Feel free to comment below or email me with more.