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Facebook Etiquette Rules People Still Break

I’ve had a Facebook account for a little over two years now, and considering I’ve become somewhat of a Facebook pundit *based on the opinions of the five people sitting next to me*, I think I know a thing or two about bad etiquette on and offline. There are a lot of things I let slide, but others just get underneath the subcutaneous tissue of my skin and I’m sure similar issues arise on other social sites as well. As such, I feel obligated to point out some of the obvious Facebook etiquette rules that people continue to break, in the hopes that one day, they think twice before posting.


Updating your status with cryptic messages

sweet oh luscious life, celebrate your dreams while you are away. doesn’t it taste so sweet? like it’s growing on the trees
I’ll admit that sometimes cryptic messages can be quite poetic but it’s usually pretty obvious that they are intended for a particular person. Otherwise, you must find yourself terribly interesting and have a strong need for people to ask “Ooooooh, I wonder what that means.” It’s like including everyone to feel excluded.

Sending a HUGE mass private message so that whenever any one of the 200 people respond to it, you think you have new and exciting mail


I would say that nearly half of the messages I get are no longer aimed at me personally. I think others would agree that it is hugely disappointing and gnawingly frustrating to see you have a New Message in your inbox, only to find out you have yet again been the target of another group invite, cause or event that you want no part of.


“38 days until my wittle sweetiepie comes home !!!” (read: Aw-ful.)

Chain statuses asking you to post whatever it is in YOUR status to “spread the word”

Argh! I get these kinds of messages all the time, either from the aggressive hard-sellers, or the notorious do-gooders. Honestly, it truly is very sad that over a billion ants die each year from people stepping on them, but please, pretty please, stop monopolizing my News Feed with impractical ideals. I’m all for good causes, but when the same person continuously asks me to get involved, my kindness begins to wear thin and eventually I’ll just ignore them.

Pregnancy/Baby Picture Overload


I made the mistake of adding a girl I went to high school with even though we were never really friends. She was now married with a baby on the way, but also seemed to think she was beginning a career as a pregnant model over FB. Until I realized that you could hide people from your News Feed I would be bombarded with pictures of her in negligees flaunting her big pregnant belly from over 400 different angles. (Don’t even get me started on the ultra-sounds!) When her son was finally born, it then became an incursion of baby pictures. Cute, but after 10, 20, 500 pictures, I got the point. The way I see it, if you’re going to be one of those people that adds everyone they’ve ever met, then your friends list likely includes a good three quarters of people who don’t really give a horse’s snot what your baby’s poop looks like.

Calling in sick for work yet making your status “Crazy Night… Still Bombed!”


If you’re going to lie, then for Pete’s sake, do it right, would you?

Posting awful pictures of people and tagging them


I think it’s pretty self-explanatory why this is bad form.

Adding work colleagues to your network but continuing to include the time you were naked in a hot tub filled with Jell-O


People never cease to amaze me with their utter disregard for who might see them on a medium as public as FB. If you’re going to add your work colleagues to your social network, then you should fix your settings so that only select people can see your racy content. An NDP candidate in Vancouver had to step down after several photos on his FB page were deemed inappropriate. One picture showed him clutching a woman’s breast, while another showed two people tugging at his underwear. Visitors didn’t even have to be signed up as his friend in order to view them.

Dissing your workplace/co-workers/boss whilst forgetting they are part of your network

I think this girl’s mistake says it all:


Carrying out personal conversations only you and another person are in on

A few inside jokes here and there, no problem whatsoever. It’s the grossly personal exchanges that are made public anyway which make me feel guilty for even looking. Again, an action which makes everyone feel inclusively excluded.

Posting important news (death, wedding, pregnancy) instead of calling people individually

You’d think it would be pretty straightforward- the more important the information, the more personal the venue used to disclose that information should be. How would you feel if you found out your sister was pregnant because you happened to check her FB status? Or that Granny passed away because Mom thought it would be more convenient to let everyone know through FB. Shouldn’t those closest to you find out before your acquaintances? If it’s going to be through FB, make it timely, be sure you’ve let the crucial people know first, and at the very least, send out a private message.

Application Overload

I don’t care what Chinese symbol you are, that you have completed Level 1 of cabbage mastery in Farm Ville, or that you’ve expanded your farm on Barn Buddy, if there is a button you can press not to share that information, you would do us all a favor by pressing it.

Breaking up over FB

Perhaps you recall the Daily Mail article about the British guy who divorced his wife over FB.  Lancashire resident Neil Brady decided to change his relationship status on FB to “Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady”. Emma only found out she was single after getting a call from Denmark, from a friend asking her “how she was hanging in”. Breaking up is never easy, but using FB as a means of doing it, that is more than bad manners, my friend.

Adding people you’re not friends with

Not that I’m adverse to meeting new people, but call me old fashioned if I prefer getting to know someone in the flesh. I’ve had people from Greece to Guadalupe requesting to be my friend. I’ve discovered that I had been getting a person’s name wrong until actually seeing it spelled out when they tried to add me. I’ve even had someone ask me if I was on FB instead of asking for my number. I’m not sure what it is people need to prove by having a friends’ list of over 1,000 people (excluding those who use social sites for marketing). According to Barry Wellman, a sociologist at the University of Toronto, the average person has about 120 “friends” on Facebook. In real life, most people have an average of three very close friends and about 20 they would consider “pretty close to”. The fact that you’ll just add someone you don’t know in order to build up a number doesn’t make your “friendly” intentions seem very genuine.

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