Proper Facebook Etiquette

#290 Here there and everywhere so the song goes

Sunday 11th November, 2007

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What’s in a status update?

Social accountability is a tricky thing. And not a situation that is made easier by the likes of Facebook that make visible even those mundane and previously invisible daily routines. It’s amazing how much information one can gleam, take in, and broadcast just through the status updates. Which begs the questions; broadcast for whom and about what?

Take for example, the demand for near instant response and recognition of communication acts that has to all intents and purposes renunciated the protocol of social etiquette. What is striking are the levels and layering of social justification and ‘pressure’ that individuals feels obliged to play a part in and to acknowledge. It occurs to me that these are implicit within the now daily rigmarole of social interactions. Obligations that have emerged as unspoken rituals of social behaviour that prompt the seemingly unnecessary and yet most essential of communications. That last status update; did you really want to reveal that, was it really that necessary?

Such caveats of behaviour are made all the more visible when someone disconnects themselves. You know the kind of person that is suddenly unresponsive and goes AWOL from their FB prompts… tsk tsk tsk. More often than not the disconnection is felt as an immediate black space, why haven’t ‘they’ responded?, and linked to a disasociatoin that is revealed as part of an seemingly absolute and highly visible act.

What does this mean? I hear you cry! No-one is ‘unavailable’ anymore. Perhaps, ‘Out of reach’ or ‘occupied’ like an over-used powder room atop Fortnum and Mason, but never ‘unavailable’ that simply will not do.

On Facabook, and across all the other SNSs that we are playing with is a new level of pervasive socialiblity that has infiltrated into everyday routines. If someone is super responsive the one week, and then dark and myseterious the next well what signals does this send out to you the receiver, nay consumer of such information. Ultimately You the individual is now ‘responsible’ to make sure that you appear as not only socially ‘in the know’ and ‘current’, but that others are fully aware of you social movements and actions.

So those status updates, entertaining though they may appear hold a certain social status themeslves. Presented as ‘informal’ social hints or gesturing as to the ‘what’ and the ‘is’ that could be taking place they mean so can mean and reveal so much more.

But don’t over analyse! Try and have some fun with these. One day you might be ‘feeding your unicorns’, or more blandly ‘taking out the rubbish’, but somehow the mundane and even the obviously fantastic update holds social value, at least entertainment. And whilst not everyone in your network will take the same delight as you from that Caravan Monthly inspired update, entertaining it is!

What is significant is that you are connecting, reaching out and offering a snapshot of your day (and self) to others. Whether they are really interested in the nowness of what you are (or could be) doing is up to them, and perhaps another topic for their status update.

So give yourself over to the power of ‘is: …’ and cultivate some status action of your own! In short be here, there and everywhere!

2 Responses to “#290 Here there and everywhere so the song goes”

  1. Jen says:

    Love the post.
    There is a problem of how to move some people to a lower status when you feel less tied to them. You don’t want to cut them off but not let them be part of your immediate updates. More this this you don’t want them to know that they have changed status as it is not a thing to make that much off.

  2. Nance says:

    Hi Maz great blog!

    just a quick question i’m wondering what means more that i update my status, or that i dont?…


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