Welcome back to Etiquette Week on SFist. Yesterday, we taught you how to drive in San Francisco without being a jerk. You're welcome. Now we tell you all about your mom's favorite social media network: Facebook. Here are some choice tips on using it without coming across like a dolt.
Have Some Tact and Self-Awareness When Posting About Your Awesome New Relationship
We understand it is very tempting, and in some circles even encouraged, to make immediate announcements about one's new boyfriend or girlfriend to one's Facebook peanut gallery. You're in love! Life is grand! S/he just brought you breakfast in bed / gave you a foot rub / bought you an adorable little gift, and you want everyone to know how marvelous s/he is. Please be aware that during an era not that long past, we did not have public forums for bragging about such things, and certainly not forums where there was a high likelihood that every one of your exes, along with half your family and every person who's had a passing crush on you, would see it. "Who cares?!" you say, carelessly, drunk on love as you are. Well, a lot of people care. And especially if you're some sort of serial monogamist who lacks the self-awareness to realize how embarrassing these posts will seem next year when you're on to the next poor soul, you should exercise more restraint than, say, your 40-year-old cousin who's finally met someone after being single her entire sad life. For her, we can all cheer a little. For you whom we once loved, who seems to think that your entire field of acquaintances, friends, and people you met once or twice in a bar needs to know how amazing your latest beloved is, we wish you would just punch yourself a couple times in the head and be sensitive to our bitterness.
Don't post vague status updates like "Big news!" or "I just got my dream job!" or "Worst. Day. Ever", without providing accompanying details. Are you the new Reuters Social Media Editor? Did you just get fired, or did a pigeon crap on your face? Without details, these posts are just an annoying cry for attention which will garner a string of "What happened?"-type comments but will ultimately only serve to irritate and alienate those around you.
No One Cares What Song You're Listening to Right This Second
Do you really need to announce to the world that you're listening to "Return of the Mack" at the office for the 17th time today?
Enough About Your Fucking Diet
Great. You're the goddamn king/queen of the Paleo Diet and you've just created a masterful, carb-free dinner that you believe everyone should envy. Keep it to yourself and your damn Paleo Pinterest board. The rest of us are busy drinking beer and not loathing ourselves.
Think of Your Mother
Sure, there are privacy controls. But do you understand them all? Are you absolutely, positively certain that that photo of your bare ass at the nude beach can not be found by her when she is doing a little Facebook stalking of her own after a few glasses of wine? Think twice before becoming a member of the Show-Me Generation, who now have a lot of cleanup to do before they start going on real job interviews.
Please Wait a Reasonable Amount of Time Before Announcing a Change in Relationship Status
This one requires a bit of judgment on your part (see above about relationships as well), but announcing you've broken up with someone the day of said breakup or divorce is both tacky and unnecessary. Likewise, announcing that you are exclusively dating someone is probably something best reserved for, at least, several months into the relationship when you both agree that such public announcements are for the good. The first thing one should do is just discreetly remove "Single" from your profile, which you are free to discreetly do at any time, assuming your settings are such that this is discreet.
Facebook Is Not the Place for Your Whackadoodle Conspiracy Theories or Inspirational Quotes
Keep that shit on your Truther forums and tumblr blogs.
Please Understand That This Public Comedy Platform Also Lays Bare All Your Insecurities and Barely Submerged Depression
Another strange and awkward anthropological phenomenon to come of the Facebook Age is that it gives a very public forum for one's pathetic musings whilst drunk, and one's clever but self-deprecating humor about this funny/godawful game called life. As the site becomes such a part of everyday life, we've all learned at least most of us have learned what constitutes over-sharing, and what might be just a charming and characteristic rant to post on a slow news day. But you know what, friends? The line is very thin between those two things! As is the line between funny quips about your lengthy unemployment/alcoholism and TMI moments in which everyone actually just feels bad for you. Perhaps pity is what you're after, but if not, be careful taking to the stage that is Facebook to joke about your lows. We're guessing you are not as funny as Louis C.K., and we're pretty sure that joke didn't land the way you thought it did.
Shut Up, Writers and Journalists
Writing an update about how you're in the process of writing a book or an article is gross, you gross monster. Instead, let us know when your golden nugget of wisdom is done and then we can actually read it. (And don't frame it in humblebrag, either. We're all onto your game.)
Don't Like Your Own Shit
Liking your own comments, or your own status updates, is sheer immaturity. If there is one rule we should all take from old-fashioned etiquette, it's not to be a self-aggrandizing boor.
Don't Send Large Group Messages
Facebook is not a mailing list and mass audience messages about your softball meet-up or art opening are best left to other channels. Form a group or create an event, but don't rope people in to what is sure to become an insufferable chain of inane responses from people you'd rather not know. Sure, you can "leave the conversation," but then you feel like kind of a dick, right? Don't make us feel like a dick, Facebook friend.
"Wow... Just Wow"
Wow... you've just been unfriended and blocked.
Your DJ Night Is Not an Excuse to Spam Your Friends
Look, promoters, we know you have a DJ night. Every Wednesday, like clockwork you check in at some dive bar and update your status to "Spinning @ Double Dutch right now!" Just because you throw a weekly happy hour does not mean you get blast your entire Facebook roster with an invite every week. Even worse? Inviting everyone and then constantly changing the name of the event so it sets off notifications and can't be ignored or hidden from our newsfeeds. And the ultimate offense: tagging popular friends on your crappy hackjob flyer or posting canned messages to their wall to extend your own reach. It's poor form. We're sure you're a perfectly friendly human being, but you're also the reason no one comes to your DJ night — because they've all unfriended you by now.
Please Do Share: Pictures of Your Pets
We still love them, just not too many of them.
Please Do Share: Pictures of Your Babies
We surrender. Facebook is the place for showing off pics of your drooling little blessings. Have at it.
Do Not Use Facebook Chat to Accost Someone You Just Met
Facebook Chat, which is now the same as Facebook messages which once were more like emails, can be very distracting. Many of us still have some other form of instant messaging that we use for work and/or friends, and this is just one more channel in which people can randomly come at us during a busy day. In fact, it feels a little more personal somehow, because it's Facebook, and you've now posted half your life on there. So, if you just met someone last night at The Page who you think is cute, don't accost them right away on Facebook Chat. It's poor form. You might as well be calling them on the (gasp) telephone. Wait at least until a non-work hour when they might not be hovered over the computer trying to accomplish something, and send an innocuous, more email-like note.
Sharpen the Axe and Murder Your Darlings
The two most horrifying words to come across on Facebook? "Continue reading." In other words, keep it brief. If you cannot resist, you might want to make Twitter your primary social media outlet.
Jay Barmann, Andrew Dalton, Rose Garrett and Brock Keeling all contributed to this report.
Previously: Etiquette Week: How To Drive In San Francisco Without Being A Total Idiot
Read Etiquette Week 2012 here.