Proper Facebook Etiquette

#260 friend or foe?: I say hello, you say…

Friday 13th July, 2007

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I am confused; what is the best way to ‘meet and greet’ someone on Facebook, whether friend or foe?

Introducing yourself when offline follows quite nicely a mélange of social rituals. Generally social blunders are avoided as each party knows the role that they are to play; a gracious host/ess introducing their guests to one another, a new partner presented to the ex, the awkward meeting of accompanying parents and new partners alike. Only either very ill-mannered, or behaved, individuals will ignore their social duties as part of such dances. However, the arena of Facebook is slightly different and it is hard to tell who, if anyone is following any kinds of rules of consequence and what these may be.

Both offline, and as part of your social network, it is the height of rudeness to ignore a social greeting, whether in the traditional form of a ‘hello’, to a Facebook poke etc. Thankfully logged into your account you can avoid the social repertoire that usually coincides with such a spontaneous social colliding. Risk of that vacant stare as you try rapidly to remember ‘who’ the person is waving your way is hidden from view. You can keep chat blasé if you wish, or indulge in an in-depth meeting of minds behind secret messages, wall posts, photo exchanges and whatever other applications you may have attached to your profile to harass and impress with.

Generally a good rule of thumb is to respond in kind. So if someone has posted something on your wall, then return the pleasantry. Sometimes, however, a more long line of communication is required and it is best to compose a suitable response when one is not in a hurry between updating Twitter and running to Starbuck for a latte.

Quashingly rude and injuring to one or other’s ego is being ignored. Try to avoid completely ignoring someone. If you are truly busy and overwrought (in the middle of a poke war, that novel that you are composing) then a very quick and polite message/wall post is more than appropriate. Never assume that someone else is going to be able to second guess your behaviour. How your respond to someone, or do not, has a lot to say about how your prioritise your relationships and how savvy you are at managing your networks.

Lastly if you really cannot remember someone who has stopped by to say ‘hello’ it is much better to err on the side caution and a potentially repeated introduction and brief embarrassment by re-introducing yourself to them to get them to reciprocate in kind. This quickly helps to establish which party you were potentially at blithely giving out your Facebook details, or at least should present a quick refresh of how you know one another, and even kind of relationship shared. Shame on you that you sneaked out to do the walk –of-shame before properly acknowledging their name etc.

3 Responses to “#260 friend or foe?: I say hello, you say…”

  1. Maz Hardey says:

    Amanda, Ann,

    Thank you such wonderful comments! And Ann how random of you to have found me wedding planning sites (hope this is all going well for you!)

    You can find other blog stuff on my Website

    http://mazphd.googlepages.com/mazhardey%27swebsite

    As for scale; Ann you could have something there. To follow Marshal Mcluhn we are living in a ‘global village’ now – so how we define community/neighbourhoods is part of new digital presence(s) that individuals may have. Also you have to remember that now we are much more mobile than we have been preivously – which leads nicely onto your point about compartmentalising life – something that is in full evidence on SNS from the moment that you sign up – ie you become member of particular network(s) and go from there.

    As for making you ‘less of a whole person’, there are elements where you can get and feel ‘lost’ across the digital scape, but what is interesting is how in the research i have done these methods of communicaiton are helping to strengthen ties and not break bonds. SO less of weakened self and more of resource for making stronger the links between people.

    I would like to point out that such connections are also not replacing ‘real’ world or copresent interactions these are just as important for SNS users, perhaps even more so – just look at applications such as ‘in my neighbourhood’ and the amount of status updates that involve informing friends not only the what individuals are doing but also the Where they are doing it.

    And so it seems location location location really does reign supreme.

  2. Ann - a bit of Amanda! says:

    Do you think it is about scale?
    I mean my family live in a village and we know everyone – which can be a pain. When I moved to Liverpool I could compartmentalise my life – work people know some part of me – my sports friend another and so forth. Does this make me a less whole person?

    Only thought of this reading your blog when looking for something on who to run a wedding!

  3. Amanda Ryan says:

    just to say that i LOVE this blog, do you write anywhere else, what do you do, how can I read more from you?… And where do you get your inspiration, are your friends on tap to point you in the right direction?…

    sorry lots of questions

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