Author Topic: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?  (Read 3180 times)

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LadyL

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Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« on: March 20, 2013, 01:50:23 PM »
Recently LordL and I have been talking about how a lot of people don't really treat facebook as social media, in the sense of something interactive. Many people have posting patterns that  don't necessarily reflect their real life personalities (i.e. someone very reserved is bombastic online). In other cases, the posting pattern either reveals or highlights less than desirable personality traits (like a propensity to get into angry political debates). I'm wondering if there are any potential etiquette guidelines for this sort of thing.

The scenario prompting this is a relative of mine who uses facebook so infrequently I forgot he had one. Looking at his history, he usually posts every 2-3 months, to say things like "Merry Christmas from the Jones Family" - never any personal updates. Recently, he and his wife decided to do major renovationsto their home - building on an additional floor. Since that process started, he has posted pictures at every stage of the construction process - a pic of the permit, each stage of building, etc. - probably 3 times a week. His wife also posts most of the same stuff so it shows up twice in my feed.

It struck me that if this was about phone conversations, and normally I heard from him every 2 months just to say "hi" or "Happy <holiday>", but then suddenly he was calling 3x/week to tell me about all the minutia of his renovations, it would be inconsiderate and self involved, if not verging into rude. Same thing if it was in person, and he went from infrequent holiday visits to showing up to my house or suggesting we meet 3x/week to discuss the renovations. I'm wondering if and why this behavior is viewed differently if it's on facebook.  I know a lot of people believe you can use facebook for whatever you like, and very few rules apply (i.e. no graphic/obscene posts). But why is this? If it's supposed to be a site to share your life with others, does it matter how you do it?

Harriet Jones

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 01:55:17 PM »
It's his FB page, he can do with it what he wants, as long as he's complying with FB's TOS.

I can see where tons of photos of <something you're not particularly interested in> can be annoying, but this is what FB's hide function is for.

WillyNilly

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 02:27:38 PM »
Maybe your relative got a new computer, or moved his computer to a more comfortable spot, or got a tablet or smartphone. Maybe he got a bunch of requests from friends or family about the construction and decided FB was the easiest way to only have to explain things once. Maybe he was reading FB daily but just never had anything to share.

I really don't see how anything you mention has to do with etiquette, with the slight exception of maybe the political rants - as rants are generally frowned upon by etiquette.

People have lots of different personality facets and its ridiculous to think every single angle is going to be the same. I'm an outgoing talkative person,I can go on for hours and hours, in person. But on a phone? I'm short and to the point no chitchat. On Facebook, I'm somewhere in the middle. They are 3 different methods of communicating and quite frankly I'd be pretty PO'ed if I was held to use each method equally and similarly. But each method is absolutely my "real life personality"!

No one is forced to look at FB. And unless someone posts, no one knows if a person did look. So I might check everyday or once a week - no one knows but me, or if I post thus revealing myself as having been on the site. I don't see how that relates to etiquette.

Judah

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 02:31:07 PM »
It struck me that if this was about phone conversations, and normally I heard from him every 2 months just to say "hi" or "Happy <holiday>", but then suddenly he was calling 3x/week to tell me about all the minutia of his renovations, it would be inconsiderate and self involved, if not verging into rude. Same thing if it was in person, and he went from infrequent holiday visits to showing up to my house or suggesting we meet 3x/week to discuss the renovations. I'm wondering if and why this behavior is viewed differently if it's on facebook.  I know a lot of people believe you can use facebook for whatever you like, and very few rules apply (i.e. no graphic/obscene posts). But why is this? If it's supposed to be a site to share your life with others, does it matter how you do it?

The cool thing about Facebook is that it isn't like a phone conversation or an in-person conversation. With FB you have complete control over what you see. If you don't want to see your cousin's updates, hide him or unfriend him; you have the power.

It's not rude to post frequently on your own wall. Even if it's several times a day. It's not rude to send a friend request or to unfriend someone. It's not rude to express your opinions, post pictures, or quote meaningful poetry to your own wall. I think that there are a lot of things that can be rude on FB, but regular use of if in the way it is intended for use is not rude.
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Moray

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 02:55:49 PM »
It struck me that if this was about phone conversations, and normally I heard from him every 2 months just to say "hi" or "Happy <holiday>", but then suddenly he was calling 3x/week to tell me about all the minutia of his renovations, it would be inconsiderate and self involved, if not verging into rude. Same thing if it was in person, and he went from infrequent holiday visits to showing up to my house or suggesting we meet 3x/week to discuss the renovations. I'm wondering if and why this behavior is viewed differently if it's on facebook.  I know a lot of people believe you can use facebook for whatever you like, and very few rules apply (i.e. no graphic/obscene posts). But why is this? If it's supposed to be a site to share your life with others, does it matter how you do it?

The cool thing about Facebook is that it isn't like a phone conversation or an in-person conversation. With FB you have complete control over what you see. If you don't want to see your cousin's updates, hide him or unfriend him; you have the power.

It's not rude to post frequently on your own wall. Even if it's several times a day. It's not rude to send a friend request or to unfriend someone. It's not rude to express your opinions, post pictures, or quote meaningful poetry to your own wall. I think that there are a lot of things that can be rude on FB, but regular use of if in the way it is intended for use is not rude.

Well stated!
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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 02:59:32 PM »
Are you his only FB friend? He probably has people on his friends list who are interested in his renovations.

There's no such thing as doing FB wrong, if he chooses to use it as photo store for his renovations he can.

Yvaine

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 03:01:06 PM »
It's not rude to post pictures of your innocuous, work-safe hobby on Facebook as often as you like. Whether it's your home renovations, your pets, your fashion, your knitting, whatever...sharing stuff about yourself is pretty much what FB is for. In fact, I'd rather see a million pictures of someone's home renovation than ever see one more "Repost this if you're not afraid to be a Real Whatever" chain status.

If it bores you, you can hide him from your feed or change your settings so you get fewer updates from him.

ETA: Facebook doesn't work exactly like the phone in any case. The comment threads can be a conversation, sure, but OPs on people's Walls are more like billboards and they're not aimed at a particular individual but at your friends as a whole. And maybe it inspires a conversation and maybe it doesn't. But you don't call people up on the phone and launch right into "I had a great caramel latte today!" or "It's snowing!". By the same token, you wouldn't write your Wall post like this: "Hello, Facebook! How are you? (insert content here) Well, gotta go. Bye." They're just not the same medium at all.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 03:05:53 PM by Yvaine »

WillyNilly

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 03:15:31 PM »
Facebook doesn't work exactly like the phone in any case. The comment threads can be a conversation, sure, but OPs on people's Walls are more like billboards and they're not aimed at a particular individual but at your friends as a whole. And maybe it inspires a conversation and maybe it doesn't. But you don't call people up on the phone and launch right into "I had a great caramel latte today!" or "It's snowing!". By the same token, you wouldn't write your Wall post like this: "Hello, Facebook! How are you? (insert content here) Well, gotta go. Bye." They're just not the same medium at all.

Another way FB is very different from a phone, is FB is not 'real time'. I can post something at 9:00am and Martha can comment at 9:10am, and Joe and Laurie both can comment at 3:15pm, and I can comment back the next day, and Sam and chime in a week later. And its a perfectly valid, non-frustrating conversation.
With a phone call, both people have to be available to speak at the same time and only one person can speak at a time, etc.


Sterling

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 03:19:28 PM »
Well count me as rude then.  I am currently completely renovating the second floor of my 108 year old home.  So far my husband and I have both posted weekly updates and pictures of each step of the renovation.  we are especially proud of it since we are doing most of the work ourselves.  I don't really understand why this is considered rude.  You can unsubscribe to a person's updates if you don't like what they post. 
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Zilla

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 03:20:06 PM »
I think comparing facebook/social media to a telephone conversation is incorrect.  In a telephone call, there is a conversation that goes back and forth instantly and you are forced into it.


Where as facebook/social media is actually a glimpse into their life.  It's optional.  It isn't forced.  There isn't any back and forth like on the telephone. 


I myself would be very interested in seeing the day to day renovations and would probably comment or ask about it further.  Others that aren't interested in that view or aspect of their life can move on and not have to interact with it.  That's that's the true beauty of social media.  The ability to pick and choose what you want to see/talk about etc.

Perfect Circle

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 03:20:14 PM »
I cannot think of a way posting about your home renevations or anything else legal would be rude. FB is used by many people to highlight what's important to them - this is clearly a big thing for your relative and he is excited. I would be too and it is also a good way to keep a journal of the work as it happens over a period of time.

And of course it is interactive in a sense that anyone he has given permission to do so can comment and discuss the work in progress.

As for personalities on line - personalities are not single faceted things. Many people express themselves better in writing. Some find that the limited character space on twitter work for them best, others prefer the format of FB or google+ or one of many other social networking sites. Others prefer to communicate through differen media like Pinterest and some find that they don't need social media sites at all or that they express themselves much much better verbally than in writing. It's different strokes for different folks and I personally believe it is a richness.
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Yvaine

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 03:22:48 PM »
I cannot think of a way posting about your home renevations or anything else legal would be rude. FB is used by many people to highlight what's important to them - this is clearly a big thing for your relative and he is excited. I would be too and it is also a good way to keep a journal of the work as it happens over a period of time.

And of course it is interactive in a sense that anyone he has given permission to do so can comment and discuss the work in progress.

As for personalities on line - personalities are not single faceted things. Many people express themselves better in writing. Some find that the limited character space on twitter work for them best, others prefer the format of FB or google+ or one of many other social networking sites. Others prefer to communicate through differen media like Pinterest and some find that they don't need social media sites at all or that they express themselves much much better verbally than in writing. It's different strokes for different folks and I personally believe it is a richness.

I still sometimes regret that I don't really do LiveJournal anymore. I switched most of my activity to FB because all my LJ friends were on FB but not vice versa, but LJ suited my style of expression so much better. But at the same time, I like the wider circle I connect with on FB.

Aeris

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 03:34:36 PM »
Isn't everyone's posting on their wall essentially self-centered? That's kind of the point. It's my wall, I post stuff there that I like. You don't have to like it. You don't even have to look at it.

It's not a 'conversation'. It's my wall. The fact that you have it in your newsfeed is not my problem, nor does that make it an interactive conversation. So it's actually nothing like him calling you three times a week and talking about his home renovations. It's more like him posting pictures on a bulletin board he owns and three times a week you voluntarily walk over to see what he's pinned up on it.

Calling you three times a week would be if he were private messaging you directly 3 times a week and talking only about his home repairs. But he's not doing that. He's posting on his own wall. It's not about you.

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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 03:40:01 PM »
If you don't like it, then you can hide his feed. I don't see it as rude.
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Re: Is there such a thing as Facebook etiquette?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 03:54:42 PM »
Isn't everyone's posting on their wall essentially self-centered? That's kind of the point. It's my wall, I post stuff there that I like. You don't have to like it. You don't even have to look at it.

It's not a 'conversation'. It's my wall. The fact that you have it in your newsfeed is not my problem, nor does that make it an interactive conversation. So it's actually nothing like him calling you three times a week and talking about his home renovations. It's more like him posting pictures on a bulletin board he owns and three times a week you voluntarily walk over to see what he's pinned up on it.

Calling you three times a week would be if he were private messaging you directly 3 times a week and talking only about his home repairs. But he's not doing that. He's posting on his own wall. It's not about you.

I totally agree.

OP, if you don't want to know about the relative's renovations, either hide him from your newsfeed or just ignore the posts.  He's not forcing you into a conversation.  It would surprise me if no one on your relative's friend list wanted to see those pictures, and it's not even remotely rude for him to post them.