The art of online etiquette: Facebook manners

Technology has made us able to communicate with people we may not have had the opportunity to have had exchanges with in the past. Just like in real life interactions, good manners should be respected in all our interactions. Online manners, commonly known as netiquette , are things that we should all be aware of. One would think that common sense would prevail, but just like in real life, some have unfortunately missed the memo to treat others the way they themselves would like to be treated.  Seeing that there are many social media platforms available, I have decided to make a quick guide of Facebook manners.

Read the pinned post or rules
Most of the Facebook groups have rules to help maintain order and keep interactions friendly on their wall. Rules can be placed in the group description, under the files section, but they are often posted in a “pinned” post. This post stays on top of the wall, and is easily accessible on mobile with the link <View pinned post>.  This may save you from receiving a warning from the administrators, or getting removed from the group entirely. Or you join a group and see a common expression used. You innocently ask what it means, but what you do not know is that this is asked on a daily basis.  And the answer was in the pinned post, that you failed to read. Now, you managed to annoy a majority of the group, and depending on the nature of the group, may have hurt your image with potential partners or customers.


Read the comments
Someone asks: “Can someone recommend a solution for issue X?” and there are 50 other comments are under this question.  You should read through all of them before adding your answer. If someone has already answered as you would have, then a <like> or <reply> seconding the comment should suffice. Spamming the comment board with 45 of the same answer does not add any more value to the conversation. It also can be taken as disrespectful; makes others believe that you think all the 50 others who commented above you are not important or worth your time.

Writing a text entirely out of capitalized letters is considered yelling. You wouldn’t yell and shout while having a conversation with someone in person or over the phone, well unless I am talking to my husbandwhile he is watching TV.

Random friend request
It is not because you and Jane have 12 friends in common, or are part of the same groups, that you should send them an “out of the blue” friend request. Before you send them a request, you should send them a message, or tell them verbally that they should expect one.  There should be a reason why you would want to connect with this person’s personal Facebook account.  (By the way – it is not rude to NOT accept all the friends request you receive – you can keep your account as open or private as you wish).

friend request
Tone and Intent
The written word is all about the reader. What you think is a witty sarcastic comment, may be taken as an insult by another. What you think is funny could be seen as offensive. In a face to face exchange, we depend on facial cues, body language, and intonation of voice. None of this is applicable in written exchanges. Just be mindful on how your interactions could be perceived. They really need to invent a sarcasm font… *S?  </sarcasm>?

Random business messaging
Do not “spam” friends or strangers with your business. You may be excited about your products, but telling me you sell a miracle weight loss pill, or an age defying cream, or an all natural cure for erectile dysfunction may not be the best way to recommend yourself, or make (keep?) friends. How would you react if someone walked up to you and offered to “help” you with your problems?
Mass tagging
@Jane, @John, @Mike, @Alice, @Stacy, @Rob, @…. Check out this newest promotion my workplace/business/friend has!
If you want to share with specific friends, take the time to write them individually, and with a personal note, with info you think would be appropriate for them.

We can easily forget, sitting behind our keyboard and screens, that our interactions are not just limited to the written word. That what we view as common practice online, seen by another living being, could be viewed as inappropriate. Would you act the same way as you do on Facebook in a face to face setting? The above Facebook faux pas are some of the most common ones that I have encountered, however there are many more out there.
What other netiquette practices would you have liked  to see mentioned?

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