OK, everyone uses them. If they say they don’t, then they are lying. What am I talking about? Social media sites, most commonly Facebook and Twitter.
My first observation about these two infernal time-wasters is that my spell check in Word recognizes Facebook and Twitter and doesn’t suggest any corrections. A decade ago these two terms were unheard of, and within that short period have become commonplace, even with my parents.
I’ve been thinking about my own pet peeves about social media etiquette. That, combined with an interesting read I had from the Globe & Mail, inpsired me would share some things that can possibly get you thinking as to avoid issues from your friends.
First off, I have heard from so many people that they keep two separate profiles on both Facebook and Twitter; one for your actual friends and an extremely PG one for parents and other family members who manage to track you down. I think this is an awesome idea, provided you don’t get caught by mom and dad. “Why do you have two profiles? What is on the other one? Why won’t you be my friend on that one?” To avoid this, some of my friendes actually use a completely different name than the one given to them at birth, but then to go through the process of untagging themselves from photos that get posted with them out drinking with friends the night before a final.
Next, you need to think about what you are posting, and how that may make your friends cringe. A prime example of this is checking in on foursquare to a location and telling the world who is there with you. This is bad etiquette, as you don’t know that your friends will appreciate their location at a certain time being disclosed. They may have just told their significant other that they were staying in to study, but have popped out to the discotheque, or maybe they have a Facebook stalker. Regardless of the situation, stop doing this.
Another element that can land people in hot water is tagging them in ill-gotten photos from the night at the pub where they have had a couple too many. Now I know it is fun and all to share your friend’s most unattractive time, but Facebook and everyone on it can really live without seeing these. Keep in mind that when you tag someone, EVERYONE on your friends list and EVERYONE on their lists can see the picture.
You also have to take into account what you are writing on your own and other’s walls. Once again, all kinds of people can see these messages. Top topics best to avoid: sex, relationships, illegal activity/incriminating comments, etc…
In all, these sites are supposed to help us connect with people, not to make us social paraiahs in the eyes of our friends (or our friends’ friends).
On a final note, keep in mind that potential employers do check social media sites for some covert background information about the people they consider for a job. They may find something that you or a friend of yours has posted and decide that you are the wrong person for them.
Just remember, things that go on the internet are not private and people are going to see (and judge) you.
Just my opinion.