Proper Facebook Etiquette

#723 Does it matter what I am doing?

Friday 20th March, 2009

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Does it matter what I am doing? I’m getting stressed with the competiveness of Facebook. Working all day (in a boring job) its tempting to make my life sound more exciting, but will I be caught out?… How should I manage my image on Facebook?

Wise words: When watching the activities of others, it is important to rember that their lives are not necessarily more exciting than ours.

In watching our friends actions, both on and away (yes it does exist) from Facebook, one factor that strikes apprehension into the heart of Facebook users are the consequences of social network exaggeration. This occurs when friends (or you) lay claim to ‘exciting’ things that ‘going on’ in a bid to appear more popular, in-style and/or busy. Very often the symptoms of this kind of social effect are the frequent updates to Facebook of the ‘What I am doing now’, or as Facebook updated this week the streaming of ‘What’s on your mind’. Such social malady need not be indication of a degenerative social standing, but of something quite different – of the desire for attention; a fresh outlook on friendship links; to shar the warmth of communicative exchanges; indication of a too easily distracted sensibility; or aspects of each and all of these. I, myself, at some point have fallen foul of all of the above . And this is quite as much an individual and personal matter (the awareness of your own actions), as well as the actions in the lives of your friends.

The responsive processes which Facebook has called forth – and which we call being connected – can be hindered (even perceived negatively) by some want of attention or reciprocated contact from others. In one and all of these incidences the interpretation of what we ‘put out there’ for our friends runs risk(s) of being interrupted, mis-interpreted or (at worst) simply ignored.

For example, if a Wall Post is taken no notice of, a direct Message disregarded it is generally not the fault of Facebook, our associated friends or even the individual, but illustrative of the kind of demanding and seeking attention style social sensibility that we have (all too readily) adopted.

The refusal to notice someone or their actions is the height of rudeness – but this is likely unintentional and mostly not malicious. Unless you have ‘fallen out’, or ‘broken up’.

It has been observed that we are all connected. I believe that such connectiveness shades into social elements that we are still working out and are but unknown. By this I do not take the view that is just the individual who is responsible for the how they interact. Rather the set-up of SNSs like Facebook, our personal and social experiences often make it difficult to know how, when and in what manner to respond to others.

The art of etiquette is well-established in many social quarters. We know not to sit with elbows or feet on the table; to spit in our neighbours lap; to return a phone call within the appropriate time (as soon as possible), but the art of knowing (and wanting to know) where we stand in relation to our friends activities (are we exciting enough, or just boring?) are part of ongoing social processes and subject to our judgement.

To return to your first concern; in making your life more exciting, ‘will I be caught out?’ Chances are, Yes. If we asked instead, why you feel the need to be ‘more exciting’ – perhaps this says more about the relationship that you share with your friends than a practical judgement of your life. In the main everyone works. Many find aspects of their day ‘boring’, even a ‘drudgery’. Instead of ‘making things up’ to seem as more exciting, you could do ‘more exciting’ things for real. Work is work. Your life is what you choose to make it. Perhaps an opportune moment to share some time with adventurous friends and enjoy together your true exciting moments. Then the aspects of how to handle your ‘image’ on Facebook should fall naturally into place – that is without deliberate manipulation, but acknowledgement of the above-mentioned adventures and to the success of your relationships with friends.

The alternative is to ‘quit the job’, and to spend as a full-time job managing your Facebook image. But you’re unlikely to pay the bills this way. And things could get very tedious, very quickly…

2 Responses to “#723 Does it matter what I am doing?”

  1. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @ FIM, you should get yourself a GVMT / civil servant post – apparently there’s now ‘7% of parliament twittering’…

    Suspect they could do with a FIM…

  2. Anonymous says:

    FaceBook Image manager – thats my my title

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