More than one person has asked me to weigh in on the subject of Facebook etiquette, and I am happy to oblige. Sometimes when I’m on Facebook, it seems like otherwise decent people have completely forgotten their manners and common sense. Here are a few gentle reminders:
1. Don’t say anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t say to your boss’s wife/husband at a company Christmas party. Acceptable Status: Whew, this weekend flew by! Back to work in just 12 short hours. Unacceptable Status: I hate my job and all of the idiots I work with, ESPECIALLY my stupid moron boss!!!! If you keep this simple “boss’s wife” principle in mind, 99% of all your Facebook problems will be solved.
2. NO POLITICS. If you must speak of politics, speak of actual ideas you believe in and can intelligently support for valid reasons, not ugly partisan bashing or cheap political jokes. Good ideas have no political affiliation. Unless you are 100% sure of the political persuasion of each and every one of your 325 friends, keep your mouth shut. Would you tell that joke to your boss’s wife or husband? Would you tell that joke at a cocktail party? No? Then I don’t want to hear it, either.
3. Keep the pictures tasteful. I think it’s really super that you lost 65 pounds since last summer, but you’re a mother of three who is over the age of eighteen, and I really don’t want to see you in your bikini posing in your kitchen. You’re just embarrassing yourself.
4. No Vaguebooking. Just in case you’re unclear, here is a vaguebooking status: I can’t believe what happened today. Unbelievable! I am totally devastated. Then when fifteen well-meaning friends ask, “Are you okay? What happened?” the response is always, “Oh, I can’t talk about it.” Really? Because you just did. And now you’re annoying me.
5. No dirty laundry, no profanity. Don’t talk about your rotten ex. Don’t talk about your slutty neighbor. Or your cheating husband. Keep it classy, people. It’s not cool or funny to call people gay or retarded. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it on Facebook.
6. No excessive bragging. Yes, I do enjoy seeing your vacation pictures. No, I don’t want to hear about your husband’s giant bonus. Yes, I want to hear your kids are doing well in school and in sports. No, I am not interested in your child’s “very superior” IQ. There is a line of good taste. Figure it out, then don’t cross it.
7. For God’s sake, wish your friends a Happy Birthday! I realize Facebook has taken the definition of “friend” and stretched it beyond any recognition, but here’s the deal: If we are Facebook friends, and you are active on Facebook and can’t even manage to wish me a Happy Birthday by typing two stinkin’ words? Then we are not really friends.