Play nice in the (Facebook) sand box

A month or two ago, I wrote an Open Letter to Facebook on my company’s website that shared a few changes I’d like for Facebook to make that would make users’ experience better for both business and pleasure.

But there are a few things users could do (or stop doing) to play a little nicer in the Facebook sandbox. I’m writing this on my personal blog because it really is all about activity on personal profiles, not business pages. Also, in case you’re thinking after reading this, “Jamie does that too,” know I’m also preaching to myself. I’m pretty good about not breaking these etiquette rules but I know I could brush up on some of them.

With all that, let’s get to the list!

Misplaced comments

Please don’t leave comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the status message. This especially applies to messages that are meant solely for the person who has the account such as “call me, I need to talk to you” or “Are you going to such and such a place?” If you want to convey such messages, leave them a note on their wall or there’s the handy-dandy personal messages option.

Here’s why you should pay attention to this:

  • If others have commented on the status message with something that actually pertains to the message, you’re being rude to the rest of the people by making them get a notification that they really don’t care about.
  • Your message may be missed if it’s in the comments section under a status that it doesn’t belong.

Ranting status messages

So many problems, so little time.


I don’t care if your ex is a sleaze/dirtbag or your current spouse is being a jerk. Don’t be so petty and passive aggressive to rant about it on Facebook. They may be awful, but you aren’t painting yourself any prettier by calling them nasty and disgusting names on the Internet. It’s just as obnoxious to make random, veiled little comments that are obviously about someone that you’re mad at. Own your words, don’t point fingers. Show more maturity than them! This is especially true, in my opinion, if you’re posting passive aggressive little messages about your current spouse or significant other.

Grow up. That’s all I have to say. Learn to deal with the problem in an adult manner, not like you’re in junior high school. In my opinion, this is especially true if you have the same types of problem over and over and over. That doesn’t reflect bad on them, as much as it does on you.

B. Avoid using strung-together, multiple status messages about the same issue. If you can’t spit it out in a single status message, then at least have some common sense to conclude the rant in a comment under a single status message. Or even better, write it out in a note. Or a blog.

Think about it. Status messages are in “most recent” order so your rant will be out of order if you use multiple status messages to get your point across. That and you’re filling up your friends’ news feeds. I know you’re mad, but don’t be obnoxious.

Don’t pick fights

I’ll be the first to admit, I struggle with this one. Both in not starting them, but in not being annoyed when others do the same. My advice is this: Think before you comment. What’s the issue at hand? Why does it upset you? Can you make a difference by commenting or are you just arguing for the sake of arguing?

For me, I usually speak up when people boast or somehow condone abusive behavior. This is especially true in the areas of animal abuse and spiritual abuse. I’m the first to admit, sometimes I don’t choose my words wisely. I don’t insult on purpose, but sometimes the words I use could easily to be taken for something they don’t mean. I tend to go with their actual meaning, not their easily inferred meaning.

But I’m never rude on purpose and I don’t pick fights for the sake of picking fights. I also try to follow the rule of not commenting unless it’s someone’s page that I already comment on sometimes. I know it’s been hurtful to me when people have started fights with my friends on my page when these same people didn’t care enough to leave a comment during any other time…including when I almost died this spring or when I lost my job.

So I guess my advice is, pick your battles first. If you really feel the need to speak up, choose your words wisely. Also know when to shut up. If you’ve made your point, unless there’s something you find you were missing in the original stance, don’t keep coming back. It’s just petty. Make your point and move on. I can almost promise you that you aren’t going to enhance your stance by being a jerk or by continually arguing.

Constant updating

I’ll admit, this probably bugs me more because I’m not a sports fan. But seriously, no matter what it is, we don’t need a play-by-play on your status messages. A news feed filled with “SCORE!!” and “DAMN!” or “Better luck next time” don’t make any sense. Same goes for watching awards shows or some other TV show or movie. It makes no sense to others and why bother communicating if you intentionally are not making sense? Try yelling in your own living room or if you really want to express it on social media, why not keep commenting on the original program announcement update? Just asking for a reasonable compromise is all.

A few personal pet peeves:

Don’t let your children who aren’t old enough to use Facebook lie about their age to have a profile. The rules are there for a reason, protect your child better than Facebook instead of fighting them on it.

Please don’t use photos of your children as your profile picture. Worse case scenario, you’re giving potential access to child molesters. Best case scenario, you’re not having individuality. It’s your profile, we want to see you.

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