Being a drop in the ocean, the one among fifty million social networking users, comes with liabilities. In the age of technology and an interconnected networking overdrive, in hugely popular social networking sites as Facebook and twitter, it’s not surprising that relationships, both long distance and those closer to home, are maintained by the online relationship quotient. Life on the Net dictates life outside the Net. And as flawed as it is innovative, human communication has the grandest capacity to court controversies and misunderstandings. Sometimes out of nowhere without any reason and sometimes purely coincidental. Relationships are made, broken and at times turn fatally dangerous on these walls. It all depends on how we use, misuse or manipulate the Facebook experience to our advantage/disadvantage. It can be a relatively pleasant inning as long as all of us adhere to a few basic rules of engagement.
1. Thou shall not add strangers on your Friend’s List: Kids, Teens, Countrymen. This is one of the cardinal rules of social networking. It’s like allowing a stranger into your home, where you share your most personal lives. Avoid accepting invites from the “Prince of Morocco” no matter how good his royal lineage is.
2. Thou shall not add co-workers and then crib about the work place and your boss on your update. Walls have ears! So dont be surprised if you are out of work the next day!
3. Thou shall not add thy co-workers, take sick leave from office one day, and then post an update with pictures on Facebook, “Crazy partying last night, good times still on, hangover!” Sometimes we just forget who are on our Friends list!
4. Thou shall not Post unflattering pictures of people, and then tag them! You do not want your buck tooth picture from high school, tagged and adorning your walls when you wake up one morning. Only to find that all your friends have already liked it! Likewise have a heart, don’t gloat on another’s misery, in this case a bad angle picture. A surefire way to lose a friend!
5. Thou shall not post Chain status messages, that “B” has requested, to spread the word. How can you be blessed this year, just because you have tagged 10 people and asked them to update their walls too? Annoying!
6. Thou shall not Intrude into personal conversation between X and Y on X’s wall, and even “Like” it! Imagine that in real life!
7. Thou shall comment only If you have a legible valid opinion on someone’s update.
(P.S: “I agree” , “You are right”, and “Hey Matt” do not count as a legible valid opinion!)
8. Thou shall be polite and maintain decorum on others Facebook Page. Facebook Page’s have feelings too. Avoid sarcasm, rudeness, bullying, on a friend’s Facebook Page. It reflects poorly on you than on anyone else. Expletives do not count as cool on Facebook.
9. If you disagree with an opinion update, do so in a factual manner. You don’t need to go ballistic & personal on the person you are having a difference of opinion with.
10. Thou shall avoid accusatory comments. Don’t be surprised if the person takes you off the list.
11. Because we are communicating via a written medium, there is major scope for misunderstandings. Things may not be as you interpret them at all. Do not judge a person by what he/she writes on his walls.
12. If you deride someone else’s comment, be assured that the same will boomerang on you. Karma rules on Facebook!
13. Thou shall be prudent when you post pictures of yourself in every conceivable pose, 1 picture every 10 minutes and counting; on Facebook. Remember Facebook privacy settings are still not foolproof. Don’t be surprised when you see yourself as the poster girl of Zimbabwe’s Billboards when you land there.
15. If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone’s pictures, don’t say anything at all. Even if Lucy forgot to wax her goatee in that close up shot! At the same time, try to be honest in your praise/compliments.
16. Thou shall avoid gang wars and cliques on Facebook. Until your friends and my friends and their friends turn someone else’s page into a virtual battle field! You don’t have to take your internal angst’s on a public forum. Do that in private.
17. Most of all we are all here to de-stress and network, from our daily grind. We all have our ways of dealing with our walls and updates on Facebook. Mine might be different from yours. At the end of the day let’s admit it, we are all attention junkies. Facebook appeals to our inner narcissist. Try not to be in denial or cynical about it.
(Did we miss any Etiquette or Rules which you follow on Facebook? Let us know in the comments! )