Proper Facebook Etiquette

#0001 The introduction to a Guide for Facebook Etiquette

Tuesday 12th June, 2007

Welcome to what I foresee as the Guide to Proper Facebook Etiquette.

Like you, I’m already used to my ‘offline’ social rituals and reciprocated ceremonies of communication. Moving these ‘online’ was led by the chatrooms, and ‘cyber’ encounters of the 1990s. But recently I have started to use the Social Netowrking Site (SNS) Facebook. This feels at once an unfamiliar social territory, and yet contains elements that I recognise from my everyday social interactions. This guide is intended to provide space for the reflection on the concerns, dilemmas and encounters when using Facebook as they occur in my life and yours. This includes how we display ourselves to friends and express a passing wave of a ‘hello’ across SNSs.

So a new etiquette, which is away from the image of afternoon tea, doilies, grand balls, hoisted pinkies and stilted conversation, and is a new set of social protocols that can be matched to our new social settings.

By using Facebook I (like you) share a constant connection to friends, which must be managed in the right way to maintain the relationship, or we risk losing social face across a whole network of connections. Here questions arise such as; When does one reply to a Facebook message? What kind of social information should one include, or not include on a Profile Page? What is a Facebook poke, and how should one respond if you receive one? What is the best way to manage an unflattering tagged picture? And so on and so forth.

As the first users of Facebook, we are finding out for ourselves the appropriate type of social behaviour and social etiquette to bring our friends together. A natural progression from the slow technology used in the 1990s to stay in touch, now is not the time to email, but to actually see and take part in what our friends are up to in the moment. At this stage Facebook represents one way we are being bought closer together and drawn into our social networks, and yet at the same time this comes with its own social pitfalls, as we re-establish our social boundaries and niceties across new spaces. Today, as the first user’s of Facebook, we are the ‘pioneers’ sof ocial media and represent a social young cohort who, in the past, have been characterised as ‘shallow’, ‘apathetic’ and with a short little attention span…

Instead, this guide is intended to show how interactions evolve as part of highly engaged, sophisticated and personalised networks of links.

Does this mean that the social courtesy that was previously held in such high acclaim has been replaced, or simply abandoned?

With a little help from my Facebook friends it is time to find out…

Please note that the readers of this blog are encouraged to comment and send questions, which I shall endeavour to include and respond to in future posts.

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