You look at your Facebook wall, trying to think of something to say. The blinking curser taunts you into submission. The impulse to update, the posturing of the post, is a daily conflict for billions of Facebook users every day. Facebook is more than a social network. It is a virtual community you sense and feel. It is a network of friendships that become all too real. Because often, even if the two have never met, they are.
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To some it is an enigma. To others, it is simply a sign of the times. A place people go to connect because life is hard. And Facebook makes it seem less daunting. An opportunity to stay connected to the world around them.
Facebook is a retreat for many. But it can also be a medium ripe for flippant posts or comments that can hurt feelings, or bore your friends to death. So, what is the proper protocol to follow that will enhance the interaction that occurs within your relationships online?
Yes, people would like to know what you are doing. It’s the nature of the troll. But if you post and update properly, they will discover everything they did or did not need to know about your life. And might actually care about what you have to say.
Post with Zen.
Do not post about brushing your teeth. Brush your teeth and allow your mind to wander random thoughts. It is the random thought you do not plan, that makes the best update. A reflection on life’s ironies. Children do it all the time, because they are not trying. They are simply being. One my favorites from our daughter when she was five was, “Mommy, if this is an American flag, then why was it made in China?”. Embrace your inner child.
Write with inflection. There is an art to the update, and the proper use of the comma is essential. Imagine yourself as the reader. Before you click post, read it again to yourself. Reading a post is different than speaking it. Make sure the emphasis of your phrasing is properly composed with commas so it reads just as you intended when you wrote it.
Be authentic. Humor is truth in drag. Facebookers can smell a disingenuous post a network away. They go to Facebook for interaction that improves the quality of their relationships whether it be for personal use or marketing purposes. Life is about relationships – on and off line. Keep it real.
Document your thoughts for future use. Always keep a pen and small notepad handy – or if you are driving or walking a Chihuahua with Turret’s – use a notes app on your phone. Driving, reading, taking a shower, walking, yoga, listening to music, can all place you in an almost tantra state. This is where great thoughts are channeled. Document thoughts that strike your heart. Then post it when you are able to do so safely. There is a rush you feel when you have a Ghandi moment. But Ghandi posts can wait. Lord knows he did.
Beware of the tag. Always place yourself in the other person’s office chair before you go tagging away. Only tag your friends in a post if it is directly related to them. “Cloud Tags” as I like to call them, are to some, impersonal. It is the equivalent of a group email or if I dare to say, spam. It takes the personal out of the communication. Unless it is Mother’s Day, and really feel you want to wish every female that has spit ice chips a beautiful day, try to keep these to a minimum. Think about who you really want to connect with, who has truly touched your life, and create quality posts that could really make that person’s day. Nobody wants to feel like a number. Even though your intentions were pure. Some say that life is ten percent intent and ninety percent perception. Posting with this in mind can save you from a lot of explaining down the road.
Use the album option. Instead of randomly posting pictures to your wall. Only add them to categorized albums. There’s a reason for this. If you cared enough to post the photo, then you probably care enough to keep it. If you enjoy posting random photos that’s fine, but create an album and title it “Random”. First of all, this keeps you organized. But most of all, it engages your friends by bringing them directly into the album with related imagery. As soon as someone sees you have added a photo to an album, it is human nature to be curious about what other photos you have posted in there. Suggested album titles are Work, Family, Friends, Travel, Holidays, Humor, and Random. Remember, Facebook is all about engagement. Engage!
Care about the links you post. If you come across a site, video or article that touches you, don’t be afraid to explain in a couple of sentences why you find it important. I’m guilty myself of being in a hurry and posting a link without a personal statement to accompany it. But if people don’t know why it matters to you, then why should they care about what you posted? Posts are conversation starters. It would be a difficult dialogue if you set a book you just finished in front of a friend and never told them why they should read it to.
Don’t leave friends hanging. If they took the time to comment on your update or post, be courteous and express your appreciation by responding with your own comment in that thread. Wait for a series of comments to post, then respond yourself. There is no need to respond every time there is a comment made on your update as too many from you can light up your friends’ notifications and make them a little coo coo. Facebook is an intimate forum for thoughtful interaction. Care about what others have to say.
Try not to be a one-sided-nitty-muggin. I am guilty of this too. Nobody’s perfect. There may be a friend who is diligent in daily likes or comments on your wall, but for one reason or another you find it difficult to engage their wall with equal effort. It’s okay. Like I said, Facebook is about being genuine. But it is also about being kind. If you find a quiet moment in your day, go to their page and discover who they are, find something they have posted that is interesting to you and return their thoughtfulness. That is unless they are a stalker. At which time you go to Settings – Privacy – Block.
Watch your P’s & V’s. Photos and videos create twice the interaction as links. But be mindful of its content. Chances are you have co-workers, nieces and nephews, and perhaps your own children on in your feed. Perhaps the leak-proof feminine product commercial with the sexy blonde being snapped up by a Great White is not quite worth the post when all is bled and done.
Don’t over-post. Three to four posts a day is usually acceptable. Too many will get you unfriended so fast it will make your page spin.
You are not a robot. Don’t just accept the feed that is handed to you. It does not show all of your friends’ updates automatically. To ensure you view the updates and posts you want to see on a daily basis, create of category within your friends list and title it Daily Updates. Then add the people who’s updates you want to see every day. Go to your news feed and select that category from the drop-down menu and voila! You are tuned in.
Don’t be “That Guy”. Facebook is all about free speech. But be respectful of the opinions of others. Men and women die for our right to disagree, but not for the right to be hurtful or malicious due to differing views. If you find yourself uncomfortable by the posts of others, and this is an ongoing issue with particular individuals, it is okay to unfriend or block. You have more control than you think in regard to what you see or experience on Facebook. If you feel you need to message the individual to explain your absence on their list, here is a letter you can send.
Thank you for our friendship on Facebook. Your updates have always encouraged personal reflection, but in my attempts to focus more on intimate updates of family I am shortening my friends list. Thank you for our connection.
Best to you always,
PMS – Private Message Syndrome. If you are communicating about meeting at a certain time and place, or discussing teachers or children, or a disagreement amongst yourselves, please do so in private. Just because you can post something publicly, doesn’t mean you should.
Say F*#!. Restrain from typing the entire curse word with letters. That’s what The Roadrunner was for. To teach us the proper use of pound signs, exclamation points and asterisks.
Lastly, posting on someone else’s wall is like going to second base. If someone feels spammed, or used for your greater gain, they can feel a sense of violation. Be thoughtful of how you use this tool and treat everyone’s wall as a sanctum. It may sound silly, but Facebook is a home away from home for many users. Just as you would not egg their house, utilize the same respect for their personal page.
Facebook is a movement. Because it moves us. It reminds us of how many people we care about in this world and how many others think that we matter. Some may say it’s a waste a time. But to others who are users, it is time well spent. So spend it wisely and remember, don’t swear at the cursor. Think of it as a starting point in your day to make a difference in someone else’s life. And you just might be surprised at what life may offer in return.
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Source: Santa Clarita News