Over the past few years, Facebook has become the revolution of this generation. Although the site has set up certain rules that must be followed by its members, there are a number of protocols not spelled out by the site. What follows are ten “rules of thumb” that should apply to its members. Keep these points in mind the next time you log in to your page.
1. Send a friend request once, and only once.
You’ve finally tracked down an old girlfriend from elementary school? Great! Feel free to send a friend request, accompanied by a short message if you desire. However, if you don’t receive a response, stop there. Repeated friend requests from the same person can become annoying, and ring of desparation.
2. Don’t seek a re-friending.
One of your friends suddenly decides to drop you from his friends list. Whatever the reason, don’t send another friend request to him. If that person wants to be friends again, the responsibility should be his to send the request to you.
3. Tag a photo once, and only once.
You’ve scanned in an old class photo, and tagged each of your old friends. Two weeks later, you notice that one of your friends is no longer tagged. This is by his request. Don’t tag him again if he doesn’t wish to be identified in the photo. How would you feel if someone posted an embarassing picture of you? Best to abide by his wishes, and don’t push the matter.
4. Blocking news feeds is acceptable.
Your friend is constantly filling your home page with political opinions that annoy you? Another friend is updating the world about his Mafia Wars achievements every five minutes? Block their news feeds from appearing on your home page. If they have something important to tell you, they can actively post on your wall.
5. Blocking Facebook members is acceptable.
Is there someone from your past who you don’t feel comfortable contacting? If that person has a Facebook account, it’s perfectly fine to block him from viewing your profile. However, don’t expect mutual friends to remember who you are and are not blocking. That mutual friend may mention you in a post or tag you in a photo, so be conscious of what is shared about you. If necessary, you may ask that mutual friend to remove the post.
6. Do unto others…
Wondering why your friends aren’t wishing you a happy birthday? Are you doing the same for them? Do you accept Farmville gifts without returning the favor? Be sure you’re giving out what you expect in return.
7. Don’t be a “lurker.”
So you’ve gone to the trouble of making a Facebook account, and you’re constantly accepting friend requests? Be sure you’re communicating with them as well, at least on a minimal basis. Constantly accepting friend requests without acknowledging the friendship is considered bad manners.
8. Don’t flood your friends’ walls.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, flooding friends’ walls with posts can be annoying. This applies especially to friends who don’t normally post on your wall. Perhaps that person is comfortable enough with a casual friendship. In that case, don’t place that person in an uncomfortable situation. Learn the boundaries of your friends’ Facebook relationships with you.
9. Don’t make your friends regret accepting your request.
It’s not appropriate to embarass your friends online. Don’t post crude or obscene messages on your friends’ walls, or tell the world about a drunken weekend you spent together. These friends have family members who also read these posts.
10. Don’t be a “collector.”
You may have attended the same high school as someone else, but that doesn’t mean you’re required to send a friend request to that person. Were you close at one time? Are you close today? Do you expect to develop a real friendship with this person now? If your answer is “no” to all three questions, don’t bother sending a friend request. It just makes you look like you’re shooting for the high score in Facebook friends.