How To: The unofficial rules of Facebook

Kerstin Gupilan

Photo Illustration by Hannah Pedraza / Photo Editor
Photo Illustration by Hannah Pedraza / Photo Editor

Facebook.  Like some digital diseases it’s managed to infiltrate most of the general public, college campuses for sure, and at a surprisingly rapid pace.

OK, so the story’s been told before and it’s been heard a million times over the past couple years.  Everyone’s on Facebook.  Everyone’s addicted to Facebook.  Facebook is the greatest/worst invention ever.  Facebook this, Facebook that.

I’m sure countless of articles about the benefits and detriments that surround the networking site have already been written, so here’s another one, but with a slight twist.

I personally have a huge, border-line obsessive, unrequited love/hate relationship with Facebook.

I love that it keeps me connected to everyone I’ve possibly ever known.  But I hate that on a regular basis I check the site probably at least five times before lunch.

Alright, that’d be lying, I check it far more often than that, but that’s only because I have certain notifications sent to my cell phone.  Don’t judge me just yet, I’m sure I’m not the only one who does such a thing.

Unlike a lot of other people out there, though, I’ve tried to make sure that everything I post on the site is always in good taste, can’t get me into trouble or won’t start unnecessary drama.

Sure features on the site can be regulated by each user, but nothing can really be done about what a friend decides to make public.

Case in point, this one time a friend of mine proudly announced to the Facebook community that her stomach was upset and she was having excessive bowel movements.

I don’t know about other people, but that crossed my idea of the TMI (too much information) line.

Alright, the point of status updates is to: keep family and friends up to date on everyday occurrences/accomplishments, post interesting and informative links/videos/pictures and to generally state how a person is feeling.  I get it, really.

But where is the “line of appropriateness” drawn?  Should there be a code of Facebook etiquette we follow…should there have to be?

If I were to ever write a book about how a person should conduct themselves on Facebook, I would definitely make it a point to forbid posting status updates less than 10 minutes apart.

It really isn’t necessary to inform your entire friends list the step-by-step process of your dinner consumption, or to constantly remind them of your dating mishaps with passive-aggressive comments dripping with ambiguity.

I also find it extremely irritating when people post every single picture from their memory card into a new album.  It’s sort of like “Hello! Pick one good one to show off…not 50 of the same shot!”

I think people tend to forget that when they post something in the heat of the moment, they are not just targeting a certain audience.  Anyone on their friends list has access to these inner most thoughts.

Imagine, posting something about a superior at work and having a coworker see it.  This brings me to another point: befriending people for the sake of having more friends.

Don’t get me wrong. Facebook is great for networking, but should personal and professional friends be kept separate?

I think for the sake of avoiding any professional conflict, it would be best to keep a backup account specifically made for networking purposes.  A profile dedicated solely to work-related accomplishments and future goals could become a sort of online resume.

The biggest problem people face is that because the site is easy to use, people feel the need to constantly take advantage of the features.

Members of the Facebook community should always remember that anything placed on the Web usually leaves a digital carbon footprint.  So be careful what you post, or one day you’ll have to worry about saving face.