Life & Beauty Weekly: Happy You

5 Rules of Facebook Etiquette

By Elizabeth Brownfield for Life & Beauty Weekly

5 Rules of Facebook Etiquette

Facebook is a blessing for busy women. You can easily and quickly stay connected with friends and family, find old friends, foster new relationships and network professionally. There’s only one problem: Facebook etiquette isn’t always as clear-cut as good manners are in the real world. In fact, navigating social situations in a virtual world can be downright tricky.

All it takes to avoid a Facebook faux pas, however, is knowing a few do’s and don’ts. Check out this guide to Facebook etiquette:

1. DO write a personal message when making a friend request.
Social networks can be surprisingly impersonal sometimes, and getting a friend request from someone out of the blue without a greeting can be a bit off-putting, says Peter Meiszner, online news producer for Global BC TV. Send a message that puts you in context. “I think a short, ‘hi, how have you been?’ is best in this situation,” says Meiszner.

Want to friend someone you’ve never met? Send a separate message before making a friend request. Otherwise, you can seem intrusive, not to mention presumptuous, and they may ignore you. In the message, explain yourself—that a mutual pal suggested you connect, for example—then wait for a response before sending the friend request.

2. DON’T be a Debbie Downer.
It’s OK to vent and commiserate on Facebook, but if you make it a regular habit, your pals will get tired of your grumbles. Instead, stay positive and hold back when angry. That way, you’ll never regret an online rant. “No one wants to look at their news feed and see a whole bunch of depressing status updates,” says Meiszner. “Especially if they don’t post any further details as to why they are having a crappy day, leaving everyone constantly wondering ‘what’s wrong?’ This is one of my biggest pet peeves about Facebook.”

3. DO make and manage friend lists.
The privacy functions in Facebook—while sometimes complicated—are worth your time, according to Meiszner.  “Do you really want your colleagues seeing pictures of you at the end of a beer bong last weekend? I don’t think so,” says Meiszner. “That’s why the lists function comes in so handy.” To control who sees what, create an “A List,” of your closest friends and family. Then, make a larger family or friends list, a list of work contacts and so on. (Friends can be part of more than one list.)

4. DON’T make Facebook a popularity contest.
Do you really need—or want—800 friends? “I think that for some people, when they are new to Facebook, their main goal is adding as many friends as possible,” says Meiszner. “But you have to keep in mind that you are exposing a lot of your personal information to people you may not know very well.” When you get a request from someone you don’t want to befriend, neither confirm nor decline it. (If you decline, she could send another later.) Don’t worry about offending her: “I just ignore the request, because they have no way of telling if you ignored it or not,” says Meiszner.

5. DO be careful of what you post.
It seems obvious, but even something as benign as “The weekend cannot come soon enough!” may appear sour to your boss or co-worker. “Keep in mind that every photo, wall post, video and all of your activity on Facebook is forever ‘out there’ on the Internet, and that can come back to haunt people who are not careful about what they post,” Meiszner says.

When people run into Facebook etiquette problems,
it’s usually because they’ve taken liberties they might not have taken in the
non-virtual world. But stop for a second and use your common sense, and you’ll
master Facebook manners in less time than it takes to poke your old college

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