5 Ways to Be a Good Facebook Citizen

No, I don’t want to join your mob, farm or any other stupid game you’re playing. No, I don’t care what you ate for lunch. No, I don’t want to read about the inside joke I wasn’t a part of the first time around.

Let’s be honest, Facebook is a great tool for staying in contact with people you wouldn’t otherwise normally see on a regular basis, but so many “friends” share things that have no place on the site. Up for debate is whether there is value spending the time to check in on the site, or if deleting your account altogether might be the better option.

So, stop annoying your Facebook contacts and follow these five steps to becoming a good Facebook citizen.

1) Stop sending application invites to everyone on your friend list. Just don’t do it. If someone wants to play a game, they can type its name in the fun little search box and find it themselves. It would be one thing if a friend has actually talked to you about an application and has expressed interest in using it, but really, no one does that and then waits patiently for your invite. Yes, I know you get all sorts of spiffy perks each time you send invites to 30 people, but just stop. Annoying your friends so you can get a perk in a game that really doesn’t matter is just dumb. Better yet, stop playing those time-wasting games on Facebook and spend your time doing something meaningful.

2) Status updates are a great way to let people know what is new in your life, but stop posting them every 30 minutes about every little thing that goes on in your day. Your life is not that interesting and no one is sitting by waiting earnestly for your next update, wondering which restaurant you went to for dinner. Make your status updates significant, and people will be more interested. Yes, your kid is cute, but no one but you cares about every little detail of their day, and no one wants to know how massive of a poopy diaper they had that day.

3) Status updates are meant to be general and have the intended audience of your entire friend list. Stop using status updates to talk to one person, or even worse, to complain about a person. There’s nothing more annoying than having a status update come across my news feed that is meant for one person only. There is no reason to believe that an inside joke between two people will be remotely interesting to the other 200 people on your friend list. Post it directly to their wall if you must put it online. Complaining about a specific person in an ambiguous status update is passive-aggressive. Step up and send someone a private message if you have a problem with them. The same goes for having entire conversations via status update posts. If you need to message back and forth with someone, use the chat feature or at least a private message. Your conversation is not that interesting to everyone else.

4) You have NO privacy on Facebook. Accept it, and act accordingly. Don’t post pictures of you doing stupid things at that drunken kegger you went to last weekend. Did you know that employers now frequently search Facebook profiles of potential employees during the interview process? Sell yourself at all times and keep your Facebook profile PG rated. The Internet is forever. Even if you decide to delete pictures or posts later, anyone who had access to your profile could have copied that picture and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it from surfacing later in your life. It’s not just people who may one day run for public office that should be concerned.

5) There’s no reason to send a friend request to someone just because you said hi to them once. Having 500 “friends” on Facebook does not mean you are popular and will not enrich your life. Yes, the site is great for staying in contact with people, but that is not license to send a friend request to anyone and everyone just for the purpose of seeing your friend numbers rise. Don’t send a friend request to someone unless you truly want to stay in meaningful contact with them.

Facebook can be a wonderful tool to enrich your life as long as you use it as such. Be cautious how you use this very public tool and you will be on your way to being a model citizen in the Facebook community.

Just don’t forget to log off every once in a while and go live life away from a computer from time to time!