Proper Facebook Etiquette

#228 Saving social face

Thursday 12th July, 2007

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My friends profile is super-informative. In my opinion too much so. What is the best way to let them know that they are posting too much information?

Out of range of usually grounding influence of older and wiser familial relations, social decorum can go a bit array and a tad overexposed. Always best to take the role of the empathetic friend, rather than ‘overly concerned’ and troubled parent. If your friend has slipped up, revealing more about their social life, or social self, then it is always best to let them know.

You would not let your friend run down the street naked, there is no need for such revelations online either, especially if their employer and colleagues are on their ‘friend’ list. Perhaps a gentle reminder that the series of links to them being sick and falling in the gutter are best left to more private and co-present catch up.

On a more serious note, students in the States have been imprisoned for underage drinking, individuals have been dismissed from and even refused employment because of Facebook antics. Be careful your friends are watching, but so too potentially is the rest of the network. Saving social face should be a primary consideration. So check your own privacy settings and do let your friends know if they are beginning to garner a reputation for themselves.

On another note this question brings to mind recollections of a ‘little incident’ that took place in my own social circle. At the end of term essays were due and examinations were in progress. A ‘friend’ was to return home to attend to a ‘family crisis’ and would therefore be unable to be present at their last seminar or hand their dissertation in on time. Tutors thus informed, permission was granted for the seemingly compassionate and overanxious soul to take a week out and return refreshed with a succession of assignments completed.

Unfortunately on Facebook the compassionate and overanxious soul was seen with status updates that read with a recurrent theme of a holiday in St Barts. Wonderful for staying in touch and bragging to friends. Also a great resource for a supervisory meeting to be scheduled and any work that was handed in after deadlines, or missed altogether to be discounted.

So let that be a lesson in how to handle who can see what in your social updates. You would not want to cause a scandal would you now.

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