Proper Facebook Etiquette

#716 Facebook affection is making me queasy

Friday 6th February, 2009

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My better half and I were just perusing Facebook and we came across some graphic ‘public displays of affection’ between the couple. They write wall-posts to each other that make us both feel a little queasy. Do you think that’s weird? It seems like private message material to me, but maybe I’m just a square…

Just as a couple is fulfilled by a shared love for one another with mutually appreciated exchanges and private in-jokes to display affection, here we hit a potential paradigm. Public exclamations of love can be amusing and comforting and yet they can also come across as a little nauseating. Have you seen the pink and red paraphernalia adorning the walls or shops, bars, restaurants lately? To find someone so irresistible that every opportunity to show and share that love, love, love, to carry this through in the company of others can be a sweet and an endearing way for a couple to behave. It can also be damn well annoying.

In my experience single friends quickly become sickened by overly public displays of affection – particularly with ‘new’ couples who seem particularly keen to establish their ‘we’re really into each other and have seen each other naked’ status. On Facebook after the ‘in a relationship’ status is confirmed, boradcast and shared with networks, then perhaps this is the time to take a step back and keep exchanges of the more intimate kind private. After all it really is quite vulgar to divulge all you want to get up to on a Friday night with your lover across Wall posts for all to read. Austen’s Mr Darcey would not approve. Perhaps a public ticker-tape of exchanges is all a part of the anticipation and excitement. Whatever, leave me out of it. Thank you.

As part of a smug couple unit it is easy to mistakeningly assume through rapid Wall post exchanges that it only your intended and yourself who are privy to such communication. Easy when caught up in the ‘romantic’ and spontaneous moment of it all. But STOP. This is not like texting. YOUR FRIENDS CAN READ THESE. Plus the option of ‘see wall-to-wall’ will make it a struggle for friends to keep down their lunch if the two of you get too carried away.

Something to do to make things a little more pleasant all round is to let the suspense build through only private messages and/or coded public posts. Although you may want to think long and hard about a proper code. The, ‘I’m thinking of poking you my little pokey-wooky’ can easily be translated.

In reply to your ‘sqaure’ observation, the degree to which such revelations continue will I am sure be a continued source of amusement. With Valentines only a mere one weekend around the corner, a reminder that romance is sweet is welcome, but graphic expose’s have no mystery or sophistication behind them and leave us all feeling sqaure.

13 Responses to “#716 Facebook affection is making me queasy”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone seriously think these celebrities are REAL – and not a PR company with some cheaply employed person acting the part?

    NO names but when I did a unpaid intern job for a PR company I WAS as sort of celeb on Facebook and that person is still there and I’m sure fans THINK it is NOT some intern in REAL life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A annoying thing about Facebook is that each module or part of facebook is 3rd party and demands that you okay the information. It feels like every time you say ‘OK’ another person has access to your information. I constantly get requests from my family or friends to upload a new module and it’s all junk. I don’t like Facebook, but everyone I know uses it so i get stuck with it. There should be a ‘no module’ here option – juts like junk mail!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Facebookology 2008/ 04/ 24/ fac…
    Leave it to someone like Maz Hardy, a doctorate student and self-described “geek chic” and “defender of new media” Brit to come up with a brilliant blog dissecting the inner workings of Facebook. “Practising A Proper Social Demeanour: A Guide to Facebook Etiquette” lays bare what many in the Facebook generation take for granted. From vocabulary to the proper response to an unexpected friend request to Facebook stalking, Maz patiently examines the more nuanced dynamics of Facebook interaction with a cultural anthropologist’s eye – Brit wit and cheekiness included gratis, natch.

  4. Seattle says:

    How long is it acceptable to disappear off Facebook following the 14th – I want to escape all those smug update daters :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    off topic but in case u not seen this

    “We’ve seen increasing engagement with over 15 million users updating their status each day and sharing over 24 million links per month. We wanted to make sure this content and the ability to share this content was available through our standard APIs. Specifically, your applications can now directly access all of a user’s status, links, and notes via new methods and FQL calls. Your application will have access to any status, notes, or links from the active user or their friends that are currently visible to the active user. In addition, we’re opening new APIs for you to post links, create notes, or upload videos for the current user, and we’ve made setting a user’s status easier.”
    Yes, Facebook gives sweet examples like: “a travel application could make it really easy for users to create and share notes and upload photos and videos from a recent trip… or a news website could use Facebook Connect to allow users to easily post links from the site and feature all of the most recent links that a user’s friends have shared from that website.” Let’s get real however, with the site reporting over 15m users updating their status each day and sharing over 24m links per month this steamrollers into Twitter land. Is Twitter established enough to withstand it? Will the two fight, merge or happily co-exist? Who knows?
    Either way I get the strange feeling Stephen Fry with be at the heart of it…

  6. Guardian says:

    someone’s taken your facebooketiquette idea to press. Or is Lucy Mangan a friend?

  7. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @ anon (no.2 drug dealer reference)

    well it's not FB that's 'evil', but the quote' HUNDREDS of British drug dealers have infiltrated social networking site Facebook in a bid to snare new victims'. Classic phishing and spam digs. This does not make the site the cause of the negative behaviour, but a 'tool' for those who wish to extend more negative social effects.

    This i ssue is really about privacy and personal security – something that i am talking about at the online research conference in March.

  8. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @ Janet,

    ps if janet’s point is about the visibilty of anti social behaviour, then you could argue that such interactions are made more noticeable on SNSs, again you also have to accept the counter is true – take for example the exchange of affectionate messages, wall postings, uploads of family/friends photos and culture of ‘sharing’ the incidental, yet emotively led finer things in life.

  9. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @ Janet,

    oh i adore janet’s ability to provide suitable public outcry and ‘ruse’ for inflaming opinion around popularist interests.

    yes before there was Facebook those were the days when crime rates were non-existent, children didn’t run round in gangs or carry knives…

    OR one could take the viewpoint that social networking is a development of how people, young people in particular stay in touch and promote aspects of themselves with nominated friends. Like mobile phones before SNSs such technologies are seen to have ‘negative’ social impact – taking people away from ‘real’ relationships and face-to-face contact. to counter this perspective I would point to my own (and others) research that finds the opposing view is true. SNSs allow individuals to manage more effectively their connections with friends, so they spend more quality time in each others company. Where this approach comes under scrutiny is with the modes of behaviour, engagement and ‘etiquette’ surrounding how to manage such connections. For the younger generation this is generally regarded as a natural extension of existing friendships and hence connection to SNSs is a social priority. For those of their parents and grandparents generation there is a lack of understanding about how the social landscape is changing and this is seen as negative and potentially threatening.

    Yes there is a history of young men in particular with a knife culture, but Facebook as the cause, or any other sns as promoting a rise in knife crime does not address all the issues and nuances of social behaviour. This simply represents one aspect of where this culture may be more visible e.g. photo uploads. What really promotes such criminal activity is lack of social service care e.g. the local environment available, decent education and stable home/family background. In short numerous aspects lead to paritcular culture and social behaviour.

  10. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @ Anon (‘in’ the Chris Moyles show) I’m surprised that Chris leaves you with time to read my blog, shouldn’t you be helping Chris train to defeat Kilimanjaro? Or can Bert and Ernie really multitask?…

    If you’re ‘in’ the CM show surely you’re ‘friends’ already, or would you like to be ‘FRIENDS’?… Nothing could be more simple. First you’ll need a Facebook Account and suitable profile (perhaps Bert and Ernie can help set this up for you) . Then a quick search for ‘chris moyles’ will bring up ‘over 500 results’. Everything from the ‘fan pages’, group page and the man himself. If you really are ‘in the CM show’ then Chris can guide you as to which FB profile is his ‘real’ profile. With a larger than life fan base there’s plenty of imposters wanting to accumulate a CM network, or join the ‘I slept with Chris Moyles last night’ application . Currently at over 1,246 members. I hope Chris practices ‘safe’ FB sleeping practices.

    As a clue, CM may be identified by his network. There’s a likely candidate on the ‘leeds’ network, but perhaps his distancing himself from his hometown for a city slicker profile and on the ‘london’ network. The choice is yours.

    In any event you could just ‘friend’ each and every christopher moyles you find – which could make your network suitably ‘chic’ or ‘CM stalker/geek’ depending on your viewpoint.

    for now you have the right idea with Twitter. Even Radio FiveLive have discovered how to Twit…

    You can always friend me on Facebook to assist your network expansion. Find as ‘maz hardey’, on and loyal to the leeds network.


  11. Anonymous says:

    News of the World says it is evil – at great length

    HUNDREDS of British drug dealers have infiltrated social networking site Facebook in a bid to snare new victims.

    The gangs have set up special groups aimed at encouraging people who join to start smoking mind-bending “skunk” cannabis.

  12. Janet says:

    Over to Janet Street-Porter

    She blames Facebook for a breakdown in real relationships

    You only have to look at the sites where young men pose with guns and knives to see just how dangerous the fantasy world of social networking can be. It allows semiliterate-young men to pretend they are criminals, in a hard-core gang where image is everything.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m in the The Chris Moyles Show on Facebook but how do I get to friend Chris ?

    I have him on Twitter as @CHRISDJMOYLES

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