Mind Your Manners, *Especially* on Facebook

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“Civility costs nothing and buys everything.”

Mary Worley Montagu

Every society has a culture. Cultures have rules, implied or explicit.  Social media is still a society and dare I say the rules that exist “in real life” also exist on the digital extensions of your communities.

It’s up to you to make Facebook (et al) what you want it to be.

When posting, ask yourself the following question:

“Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?”

I would recommend against using Facebook for the following types of posts:

  1. Venting about Family Drama:  We get it. Your aunt is asking you to clean her cat box and you’re sick and tired of it and why doesn’t your sister help clean out the cat box anyway?  Seriously?  There is such a thing as appropriateness of venue.  I’m sure your complaints are valid. My point is that Facebook is not the place for this bone-picking.
    •  If you need to vent may I suggest:
      1. Type out your rant in Word, print it, and rip it into a million shreds.  That can be very cathartic.
      2. Call or email your aunt and explain why you don’t want to clean her cat box and offer another solution.
  2. Venting About a Coworker:  People steal staplers. It’s annoying. Repeated over time, it can drive you crazy. If you need to vent, may I suggest one of the aforementioned suggestions or starting a blog. (ah-hem, moving on…)
  3. Venting About Your Boss: Only do this if you ever want to get fired. It will happen.  And, you are showing all of your friends (and potential coworkers) that you cannot deal with conflict in a healthy way.  Again, I refer to the aforementioned suggestions in addition to  the following:
    • Call your mom. Yes, this is what moms are for.  I’ve done it, she’s done it.  It’s part of the mom-child relationship.
    • Have lunch with your friends, vent, and ask for their advice for solutions.
  4. Postjacking:  Postjacking has two main forms:
    • One-Uping Postjacking:  This is when someone posts some good news about their life and you decide to one up them.  You know what I’m talking about.
    • Hijacking the Subject Matter / Attacking the Person Postjacking:  This form of postjacking is the most egregious form of incivility on Facebook.  I’ve seen it over and over again.  If the post originator is not the subject of your attacks, then move your conversation to their profile or page or a private message.
  5. Using Your Facebook Page to Assign Tasks (Page Admins):  If you’d like to coordinate tasks within your business or organization among the page administrators, then may I suggest not posting those tasks on the Page’s wall? Instead try one of the following:
    • Email your fellow page admins.
    • Private message your fellow admins.
    • Start a group on Facebook and make it private so you can discuss these tasks, brainstorming, etc. in private.

We are all human and we all become frustrated, angry, and exasperated. Posting those feelings live, however, in the public space may actually exasperate your problems, making it counterproductive at best.

My tip has always been this:

Respond, don’t react.

What are your tips?

What do you think about this post?  Leave a comment below.


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  1. barbaratoombs on March 21, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Yeah!!! I am so glad you wrote this…I completely agree. Now, if just everyone would pay attention… :/

    • Bridget Willard on March 21, 2012 at 9:44 am

      Well, we can dream.
      If you couldn’t tell, I shaped my rant into something that I hope seems informative and constructive.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, read, and comment. I know that takes an extra effort. I appreciate it.

  2. Shole on December 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I think they should play that video in schools as part of their anti-bullying efforts. It’s simple and makes a very good point that there is a person on the other end of that machine. Thanks for sharing!

    • Bridget Willard on December 11, 2013 at 10:40 am

      I totally agree. That is a great video for anti-bullying.

  3. Josie Foulger on May 7, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    You’re totally right, Bridget. It’s better to take some minutes, breath, and move on. Could be expensive later.

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