The other day I was listening to my favorite radio show, The Morning Mash Up, and they were talking about making big announcements on Facebook. I think the discussion started because one of the hosts found out from a Facebook post that their friend was engaged, and they were hurt that they weren't told in person. (The discussion was already going when I got in the car, but that is what I gathered.)
I make announcements all the time on Facebook. From something as small as the first time Rylie peed on the potty to a bigger announcement like Bryce's birth, you can stay up to date with my life if you're my Facebook friend. It is a great way to spread news quickly without having to send out the same email multiple times.
While I was listening to that discussion on the radio, I started wondering how many times I have hurt my friends because they found something out on Facebook rather than from me directly. I think with all of the social media capabilities we have available to us these days, we tend to forget about common courtesy. You don't usually realize it, though, until you're on the other side. I remember when it was getting close to my best friend's induction date and she was talking about notifying people and I said "I just don’t want to find out on Facebook." I would have been hurt. Honestly, though, I think she found out about Bryce's birth from Brian's Facebook post. (And now I feel horrible!)
Sometimes we should stop and think before we post. I have been thinking a lot about this subject over the past couple of days, and more than just the news spreading issue. I have been thinking about basic Facebook etiquette, or at least my version of it, and I wanted to share my Facebook DOs and DON'Ts with you:
DO: Post big announcements. It is a great way to spread news quickly to all of your friends. Be mindful, though, of your close friends and family, and make sure they are told first in a more direct way. Remember when we used to pick up the phone and call people?
DON'T: Post someone else's big announcement. That is just rude. You might be happy for your friend, but it isn't your place to post about her engagement or her new baby before she does. That is HER news. When we had our ultrasound and found out Rylie was a girl, I called a few people and was planning to send an email out to the rest of my family and friends later in the day. One of those people took it upon themselves to make my announcement for me and sent out a mass email to the rest of the family. I was mad as hell.
DO: Brag about your kids. I love to hear what all of my friends' kids are up to. I know how proud I am when my kids achieve milestones, and I know how much I want to share when something funny happens, so by all means, post it all.
DON'T: Constantly complain about your spouse. It just makes you look like an idiot for marrying someone who you obviously don't even like.
DO: Vent. Having a bad day? Go ahead and complain. Sometimes we just need to unload, and Facebook provides a great outlet for doing so. You never know, someone may be able to help. Or you may have that one comedian friend who will say something to cheer you up. Just DON'T complain ALL THE TIME. Post about the good stuff too! No one's life is that bad, and if it is, maybe you should get off the internet and try to make it better.
DON'T: Post cryptic messages about something that is going on with you so that people have to wonder. If you're just doing it for attention and you want everyone to send you private messages and ask you what is wrong, just post it. You're generally not going to get attention from me in this way. If you really don't want to tell the majority of your friends what is going on, then don't post anything at all. Pick up the phone and call someone who you want to talk about it with. This goes for inside jokes too. If only a few people will understand what you're posting, don't post it.
There you have it - LeeAnn's Facebook etiquette guidelines. I imagine that the Facebook guys will probably want to go ahead and add this to their Ts and Cs soon, so now you know them before everyone else does.
Bottom line is that I think it is perfectly acceptable to use Facebook and other social media outlets to share important news. After all, it isn't official until it is Facebook official. Just be courteous and think before you post.
Do you share important news on Facebook? What are your DOs and DON'Ts?
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