Facebook has you connected. And I mean connected: So far you’ve already found and friended your long-lost best friend from second grade, the crazy blonde keg dancer from college, Great Aunt Thelma and your boss’s first wife (because ya know, Jim is a nice guy and all but Ella just didn’t get a fair shake during the divorce proceedings). And it’s only been a week! Since you’re probably still learning the finer points of mass social networking, here are nine things to avoid doing on Facebook, all designed to help you save face (or literally save your face).
Facebook No-No #1 – List your full address and phone number. You may have fond memories of playing tag with the freckle-faced, Brillo-haired kid down the street, but let’s face it: You haven’t seen him in 15 years. How do you know he hasn’t morphed into the crazed stalker type? He DID have a fondness for wearing a Jason-style hockey mask – remember Thanksgiving 1985? Yeah, that was weird. An email address or cell number will do. And if you really, really feel compelled to pass out your complete address or home digits, use private messages. That’s why Facebook offers them.
Facebook No-No #2 – Talk incessantly about your sex life. Status updates are quick, often fun one to two liners detailing your up-to-the-minute random thought or feeling. They’re not an appropriate avenue for spilling the intimate beans about the chick you bagged at the club last night, bro. Gross. Remember: Great Aunt Thelma is watching. She doesn’t need to know the real reason you asked for that hot blue leather jacket last Christmas, does she?
Facebook No-No #3 – Two words: Drunk Photos. The 2006 office Christmas party at your old company might well have rocked your socks off, why on earth would you share that picture of you with your booty backed up to the camera, threatening to drop trou? Bad pics posted to Facebook can come back to haunt you, especially if your current boss gets back together with his ex.
Facebook No-No #4 – Pad your friends list. In fairness, different people approach Facebook in different ways. I tend to accept just about anyone who friends me first, so long as I recognize the name. Others take friend-addition a bit further. Resist the compulsion to add your friends’ friends, unless you know or knew them in the past. I’m sorry you’re still living with the sting of being unpopular back in high school, but having 2,000 friends online doesn’t make you cool now, either. Desperate, table for one!
Facebook No-No #5 – FAIL to create a Limited Profile view for your Gamer friends. You check in on your Mafia Wars game every six hours or so, and eventually decide that you need to expand your family, so you visit the Mafia Wars discussion board and request more members. The requests pour in like Thanksgiving gravy… and then you realize ‘shoot, I don’t want them to see my pictures and private info! I don’t know these people!’ It’s not really a problem: Just create Limited Profile lists for your gamer friends. It’s easy, it keeps your personal stuff personal, and you can expand your FarmVille, Cafe World, FishVille, YoVille, Mafia Wars blah blah games to the moon and back again.
Facebook No-No #6 – Be depressed. All.the.time. We all feel funkish now and then, and that’s okay, but constantly complaining on Facebook is a surefire way to lose friends, and to lose them quickly. Moan away, but be ready to sing the opening bars of All By Myself, too.
Facebook No-No #7 – Repeatedly send a friend request to someone who’s already denied you. Dude, your ex-girlfriend already said no three times. Get a clue and stop asking already! Pestering someone won’t make her change her mind, but it may get you slapped with a restraining order. Or blocked entirely, the Facebook equivalent of someone hiding herself in the Witness Protection Program.
Facebook No-No #8 – Be snotty, snarky, or all around jerky. You’re (probably) out of high school. Let maturity rule the day during your online time. If someone else picks a fight with you, just defriend them. There’s no point in getting ensnared in a Mean Girls-esque cyber war of words.
Facebook No-No #9 – Intentionally flood your friends’ feeds with game updates. Per number 5 above, you’re a Facebook gamer. Fine. I’m one, too. But as a gamer, you have to be careful about not spamming your friends’ feeds with game activity notices. No one else really cares that you’ve moved up to level 459 in Mafia Wars or that you’ve fertilized 5 of your neighbors’ crops in FarmVille. Feed spamming is one of the quickest ways to find yourself de-friended, so if you can ‘skip’ those notices, for the love of chicken, DO IT.
So there you have it: Nine Facebook no-nos for noobs. Happy networking!