The conversation tapered off… I looked around, and everyone had pulled out their smart device of choice and was checking Facebook. The conversation started again when everyone realized that one mutual friend, in particular, had posted some nonsense that was part insight, part proverb, but mostly annoying.
We all agreed that this friend needed to stop posting inanities or he would be hidden, or worse, defriended. This of course led to a discussion of a new form of etiquette, “social media etiquette,” and some of the stuff was so good, I had to get out a pen and paper and start on this post. Here are 5 ways to avoid social awkwardness and having those embarrassing moments on social media.
1. The Comment vs. the Like
One of my friends gave this amusing anecdote. His friend posted “What’s Worse than burnt toast?”
to which my friend replied:
“No toast at all?”
Innocent enough, but what he failed to predict was that, for the rest of the day, his phone was going to be pinging with push notifications about burnt toast, and what is really worse than burnt toast (no butter was a suggestion).
Use the “Like” button
If you want to contribute to a conversation, but don’t want to be inundated with everyone’s comments pushing to your smartphone, consider the simple “like.” Perfect for announcements of an engagement or a photo of someone’s newborn baby.
You like that someone’s grandmother has died. Also, liking your own status.
2. Unfriend or Filter?
The person who was posting inanities that seem to only be interesting in a group setting with plenty of wine is at risk of being filtered, but no one was willing to unfriend…
Unfriending as a form of hiding from your newsfeed. Unfriending is really insulting. It’s not as simple as “I don’t care about what they have to say, I’ll just unfriend them.” If you want to be able to look that person in the eye at work, or in your social life, you are much better off just filtering them out of your home timeline, put them on a limited view, a restricted list. Unfriending should be saved as a last resort.
3. The Wink ; )
I had a friend on Facebook for whom we had to stage a “Facebook Intervention” because she could not get the hang of the smile vs the wink. She would post “just had a quiet dinner at home with my boyfriend. ” or “On my way to work ”
Inappropriate winking. The wink is reserved for a “tongue in cheek” implication. If you just want to add some cheer to your posts or your tweets, use a smile .
4. Hashtags on Facebook
Hashtags don’t link on Facebook. They work on Twitter and Instagram, but not on Facebook.
Hashtagging on Facebook. If you post to your Facebook page with a hashtag, know that it’s just going to look like a tic-tac-toe symbol to your friends and fans, and those unfamiliar with Twitter may not even understand what it is.
5. Social Philosopher
Some people us social media as their way to abstractly comment on their lives and the world. I’m sure everyone reading this article has at least one friend or is following someone who fits in this category. This is an actual post by someone on Facebook:
“Too much information” posts. Being dark and deep is fine, but broadcasting it stream of conscious style to your fans or followers? That’s a little awkward. What are your friends supposed to say to that? Are you even expecting a response? Would “liking” it be appropriate? What about a retweet? Social media has taken down barriers for sure, but think long and hard about how much you want to voluntarily share with people!