Proper Facebook Etiquette

#1030 Facing a deficiency of needs on Facebook

Monday 3rd August, 2009

Dear Mariann
I feel a deficiancy whenever I use Facebook. It’s not that I do not love what’s going on, but find it hard to know how to encounter others on Facebook that I know in real life. So what is the best way to meet my social needs and satisfy my equivalent personal growth without becoming a sad obsessed Facebook geek?

Well in real life, as you call the non-Facebook equivalent- a simple, ‘hi, how are you’ is enough of an opening to get into, or out of, whatever the social exchange is that you desire. For example, if the exchange is with a potential other with whom one is not aligned with, a simple ‘oh that’s good to hear, glad you’re well, byeeeee’ will allow you both to enter, engage and disengage from the social situation. Should there be someone with whom you’re keener (maybe even sweet) on you can offer a more persistance, ‘must catch up over coffee etc’.

However, all these scenarios, I fear, are for you all in vain on Facebook. Here you can take assertiveness even when, perhaps, you did not intend. Keep in mind that Facebook offers a more public forum for possibly exchanges, so I would caution against an interluded exchange across Walls, unless you wish other friends to witness what you are up to. I think what may help your to identify when and how to act is with a hierarchy of needs that you can match to a predetermined level of importance. Consider, for example, five levels of essential social requirements on Facebook.

First, is mutual acknowledge (this is when you establish a friendship on Facebook).

Second, introducing reciprocated token of friendship (whether a message exchange, well post etc.).

Third, represents the constancy of the relationship (i.e. you keep an eye on their feeds as much as they yours).

Fourth, the belonging to similar networks and/or shared mutual friends to add validation to your connection.

Fifth, is the acutalisation of your connection – without having to think in advance how your message/post etc. may be received or interpreted. In short this is the level at which there is some taken-for-grantedness, but in the most positive way as you both are ‘safe’ and ‘secure’ in your connection.

Once these levels are met, one-by-one, you will find it easier to both seek and satisfy the needs that will drive you personal and friendship growth. As you move through the levels, your prioritisation and state of the relationship with others change. In short, this is all to do with practice. Already you know how away from Facebook to handle social situations, whether with a short ‘hello‘, or longer ‘hi, lets catch up‘ opening. What I am suggesting is that you will experience a re-focus of your social attentions, that may to some (and currently to you now) appear as ‘geeky’ Facebook actions, but will be experienced as valued social interludes.

If the above does not take place, you could consider a new level for assertiveness. Lets call this the Miuns Nil Point – which sees you deleting your Facebook account, the social equivalent of wearing blinkers in public if only to avoid people communicating with you. A word of caution, the blinkers may cause others not only to fail to recognise you, but also to find you quietly disturbing and, thus, such friends will deliberately seek to escape your company. A disguising of conflicted interests can therefore be carried both on and off Facebook.

5 Responses to “#1030 Facing a deficiency of needs on Facebook”

  1. Dr Mariann Hardey says:

    @ Anon, yes quite right. Spell checker now on.

  2. Aelicia says:

    Is there the equivalent of 'sex-texting' on SNSs? My boyfriend likes sexy tx messaging and has been asking me to post them to MySpace. I don't get it – a man thing? But he is keen. Is there something I've been missing or shall I just make him happy?

  3. Lauretta says:

    Great blog – thanks to – for re-posting it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Should that be deficiency ?

  5. John says:

    So the average Facebook visitor spends more than 4.5 hours on Facebook in June over an hour more than the average Yahoo user spent using Yahoo. Not surprising given all the things that are going on here!

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