Proper Facebook Etiquette

#2018 Too much time playing with a new device | Timeline

Tuesday 27th December, 2011

Dear Mariann,

Here’s a strange occurrence for you, before Xmas a new chap had just started at my place of work. He seems affable enough but like many people these days seems more interested in playing with his device than any real conversation. Is there a way in the New Year to force him to engage with some proper standards of engagement, or am I better off writing on his Wall?

From Ms Unheard via a Poke and direct message.

Oh, yes I fully endorse your attempts to assert your authority and lay some control over someone elses life. Maybe.

It is likely that prior to Xmas your ‘affable chap’ had signed up to the new Facebook Timeline. His ‘interest in playing with his device’ (*smirks*) smacks of some, errrr, inappropriately-led obsession and his flummoxed attempts to get to grips with Facebook’s latest furniture moving activities. Have you tried the new look Facebook yourself? once you do, let alone writing on his Wall, I could not possibly recommend any poking activity as these will be hard to find. They used to sit neatly on your Home Page, now they have disappeared into the ether [to re-discover these, go to your Home Page, select apps, and scroll down. You might want to ‘add’ pokes to your ‘favourites’ which means they now be easy to find from your Home Page once again – faff, faff, faff]

I am assured by my ‘reliable’ and in-house Facebook sources that the hiding of the Poke and the public launch of the Timeline on 23rd December is to reflect changes to Privacy Settings (again) and to ‘inline’ settings. I cannot be bothered to outline all these changes in one post, but   in his August post about Simplified Sharing at zdnet can.

Where were we, oh yes the minimum requirements to gain the attention of friends and colleagues who prioritise playing rather than conversation.Perhaps your friend is simply an extension of Facebookyists – these are those individuals who do not have ‘real’ friends these days, but a catalogue of vague acquaintances who they may have once met – a meeting which Facebook helpfully displays in the new Timeline with the additional tags of ‘school’, ‘college’, ‘university’ – they have yet to have a tag for ‘pub’, perhaps because as this is all based on time, the ingredients for such vague meetings are most likely to be forgotten. Anyway, the latest shake down reflects how the term ‘friend’ is becoming a looser these days. Equally what you say you ‘do’ on Facebook is less an extension of self (who you are and what you say you are doing); and more a cataloguing by Facebook of your activities in order to sell this onto numerous commercial companies. This should not come as any surprise to you, it’s been a commercial circus since the ‘Great Day of Openness’ on 26th September 2006, when ANYONE who ‘agreed’ with the sites terms and conditions that they were over 13 years young and had a valid email address could sign up.

…Since that fateful day things have never been the same again.

Now as a result of Mark Zuckerberg’s  lifetime (so far) of collecting, cataloguing and obsessing over your friends -which would have been dismissed as a pointless ‘hobby’ or just a bit ‘creepy’ before there was Facebook, the motive of Zuckerberg’s obsession have also become our own. In short, how we immediately rate or slate our ‘friends’, or to answer Zuckerberg’s original question when Facebook was just a college network – who is ‘hot’, vs who is not?

Is Facebook a network for friends? (and then by extension a ‘subtle’ way to rate how ‘hot’ your friends really are) or a commercial obsession? and so as a means for pushing advertising and networked-SPAM to your Profile. The answer is clearly both, but the line is not easily drawn. Perhaps the best way to judge your new friend at work, and for us to judge one another is to ask yourself whether you’d both feel comfortable not only being ‘friends’, but now knowing in precise detail what, when, where, why and how you met (then fell out) as the minutiae of your activities are bundled up and sold on – if only to sell one or both of you Russian Bride services or singles holidays.

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