Proper Facebook Etiquette

#283 Too hot to handle

Wednesday 29th August, 2007

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After an argument with my significant other I posted some rather public displays of my anger on their wall and our friends walls. What is the best course of action from here?

Emotions whether affection or anger should be considered location appropriate. Would you feel comfortable for example shouting aggressively in the midst of a restaurant, on public transport, at the beach or some other exposed location? One would, despite your recent actions, like to think that this would not be deemed as ‘acceptable’ behaviour. Well neither is this kind of crass mouthing off entirely suitable on your and your friends profiles. You shall get yourself into all manner of hot water!

There are times when it is easy to get carried away in public, who hasn’t heard the happy milieu of raised voices on a Tesco morning as families struggle to contend with the weekly shop. However, on Facebook you are making a very conscious display of your behaviour and its difficult to not pay attention to such actions. I am sure that your friends are finding it both amusing that you have provided a torrent of affected behaviour across their profiles, but this really is rather intrusive – both on their profile space and emotional well-being.

Offline it is easier to look in the other direction, tut rather loudly, to cross the street or to even to openly gawp at relationship proceedings as they unfold in front of you. Placing your argument and aggression across your own Facebook networks is more than a little careless, AND much more difficult to retract. Speech may be able to say a thousand things, but there is nothing like the power of prose to really stick in memory, and gut! Think of the wonder of Shakespeare, his Plays represent only one aspect of a genius, that is bought to the fore by his stylish and powerful writing.

Your little knee-jerk ‘activities’ are at best ‘amusing’ or ‘strange’. At worse they will be remembered as evidence of your lack of self-control and inability to uphold the more adult side of a relationship, i.e. communication. And no I am not writing about your ability to post on Facebook, that is precisely what has led you into this dark corner in the first place.

Some salient advice: First and foremost you must delete, if you have not already all posts in referent to your out-pouring, no matter how therapeutic these once were, save them for your own personal blog. Better yet buy a journal, one with a lock! Second, time to grovel. This time posts, pokes, messages on Facebook are perhaps lacking the power of an co-present and ‘down on your knees’ apology.

You’ve found that a disagreement has spun out of your control. Remind yourself that when on Facebook you are in a very public domain. Relocate your gripe elsewhere and away from the prying news and mini feeds that spur the algorithms of Facebook into action.

Oh the same advice goes for being overly affectionate and loved up on Facebook. Public fights are embarrassing. Public displays of affection provide a new level of discomfort!

2 Responses to “#283 Too hot to handle”

  1. Maz Hardey says:

    There’s a very fine line between ‘networking’ in a work sense, and on your employers time, and communication with friends and family that take you away from your work time. Companies need to embrace SNS as employees expectations are already that they will have a profile on sites such as FB and it certainly works in the companies favour to encourage and be able to regulate the time and actions on SNS’s.

    The important thing is to know where to draw the line, to be able to keep work life and friend life not necessary separate, but managed in an efficient way that does not infringe on either set of networks.

    Companies need to keep in mind if they ban employees they will find time to log on and log out anyways. Employees need to be repsectful and careful of how they present their profile and social actions online. It wouldn’t be the first time (or last) that an employee has carelessly tagged or posted and been ‘caught out’ in terms of reprehensible behaviour.

    SO keep a check of your own actions, possible workplace surveillance and your friends actions too. After all its what you know , who you know and how you act in what is a very public space! :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Saw the news today – big on facebook why not SNS? Point is these workplace bans – do they mean that we have to always be on the thing ? At work I had not thought to log in but do so when home. Is everyone else always there?

    What’s the line on this?

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