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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

10 Things Not To Do On Facebook

I've been working this list over in my mind subconsciously for a while now. Then I realized I had some working knowledge of facebooking (new verb) and decided I might actually be able to speak to this. To be fair, a good portion here is subjective opinion. I own that. But I'm also a professional Social Media Marketer (hospitality industry) and I'm a paid consultant in Facebook Marketing for other businesses. That gives me some expertise and so I've made this list of Facebook faux pas that we all do but we should nevertheless avoid. For the record, I have done and still do more than a couple of these so don't feel bad if you're in this boat with me. Just try your best to get out of it.
Don’t be:
1. The Retro User - the status update that's missing a person. “likes to read on Saturdays.” Or “ ’s cookies turned out great!” This is a remnant from a bygone era on Facebook. Back in the day, your status used to post on the same line after your name so that it looked like “Sam Ogles really rocked that blog post.” But now your name is displayed higher and your statuses just look outdated when you do it this way. Include a reference to yourself!I really wish football season would end,” or “My favorite thing is crushing the dreams of children.” Time to modernize. Let’s get with the program. 2. The Riddler - your status shouldn't be a cryptex we have to crack. (Yeah, that’s right: I've read Da Vinci Code.) Things like, “Sometimes...” or “Could life get any worse?” Maybe this is more of a personal beef. I hate it when people open conversations with that because I know they want me to say, “....Sooooo. Something on your mind??” Look, if you want to talk to someone or vent or whatever, just do it. That’s human! Don’t be cryptic just so people will ask you what’s wrong. It’s like pouting.
3. The Obsessed Parent - all your posts are about your kid. Kids are adorable. I love kids! There’s nothing wrong with posting about your life with them since I assume having one is a big deal. But it shouldn't be your whole relationship with everyone else. Guess what, sometimes we want to hear about something other than your special mommy moments. “Week 10 of my pregnancy.” “Week 20” “Week 82” Ugh... we don’t care. Give us only the extra special updates - those we honestly care about. Tell your friends and family the details in person. Leave the online world out of it.
4. The Sports Junkie - usually guys but not always. We do not - I repeat - we do not need to hear your opinion via status update every 20 minutes during the game. If we wanted insightful expertise and a play-by-play, we'd go to a professional broadcast and, no offense, not to you. Nothing wrong with an opinionated sports update but keep it minimal. If you want to post your reactions 10 times in the course of two hours, find a different social medium. Enter Twitter.
5. The Photo Addict - I used to never take photos of my life until I got a smartphone. Now I love it. BUT you have to be sparing with posting them. Why is Instagram so great? Partly because it’s a snapshot and not a photo album. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so don’t make us read an encyclopedia! Don’t have a million photo albums each with 50 photos. Start weening off of it. Pick 1 or 2 photos from your great night out. Pick your 10-20 best shots from vacation. Keep it short and sweet. You’ll be happier and more people will look through your life as captured by camera. 6. The Double-Dipper - linking Facebook & Twitter. They’re different social mediums! They have different cultures. Don’t always post the same thing to both. I do this occasionally too but it’s just silly. Offer original content for each. If you’re always posting the same things to both networks, then there's no incentive to follow you on both.
7. The Instigator - it really shouldn't have to be said but apparently it needs to be. You can’t always be complaining about something. No one likes that in real life and we like it even less online. If you are a passionate, committed advocate for change, hey, that’s  just the tops. But don’t let it define your online presence. Post some regular stuff about your life and do it often, not just how the other political party is the devil or how oppressive society’s systems are. It will help you too because when every post you have is an angry shout, people will eventually adjust their volume and tune you out.
8. The Debater - I would get called out incredibly fast if I didn't own up to this but this is me. I get in debates online all the time. In the right setting it can be okay...from time to time. You have to learn that, sadly, you’re not going to solve the world’s problems on Facebook. Maybe you can change a few attitudes. The thing to remember is moderation. No one likes someone who wants to argue all the time. Not even most of the time. That being said, you don’t have to let your views get steamrolled either. Make your point but do so succinctly, fairly, and with sensitivity. And then move on.
9. The Pretender - own up to reality. You don’t need to post a really outdated photo of yourself. You’re not in high school anymore and you don’t look like that. Guess what? You've gained weight. Or you’ve developed some lines. Or you’re just not as young as you were then. I don’t know why you insist on projecting an image of yourself that’s eight years out of date but you do. Sure, go with a flattering photo but make sure it’s a photo of you, not “you” as you’d like to be or the “you” as you once were. My hair is thinning a lot now and as fantastic as my long locks were in college (which was pretty amazing, by the way), those days are gone. I can face that. And you should too.
10. The Self-Photographer - Pictures taken of you by you should be like cats. Have a couple and it can be kind of cute. Have a ton all the time and you’re just a crazy person. Self-photos are usually the worst, especially if you’re making duck face. About the only time you can get away with this is if you are both A) a girl under the age of 30 and B) have a friend in your shot playing along. Other exceptions include 
if you literally market yourself, vacations and special events. Buying a new outfit is not such an event. Neither is looking cool at a coffee shop. Wondering how good you look and always cataloging your good-looking moments I think of as signs of immaturity or insecurity. And who has both of those in spades? The Biebs. Have you seen Justin Bieber’s Instagram? It’s photo after annoying photo of himself by himself. Most people who know you know what you look like. Would you walk into a room and say “Look at this great photo I took of myself?” Because that’s what you’re doing by posting it online.
I know I can't be the only one to have made a mental list. Any suggestions to add here? Or detractions?


  1. All of these.
    Every last one of them.

    You nailed it, my friend! Perhaps it goes without saying that my suggestion would be the Meme Machine: indiscriminate and unstoppable sharing of all manner of unattributed quotes, uncorroborated "statistics," hoaky clichés written in horrifying fonts superimposed on sentimental waterfall photography, and so, so many cats.

  2. Haha, thanks. It doesn't go without saying - so thanks for saying! It's true, the Memers are out of control and need to be stopped. Possibly by force.

  3. Pretty great! (Guess what, I don't have a Facebook account! Never have.)