[7 February 2011]
The Facebook ‘Like’ button is a great tool for connecting with each other. It also gives those of us slightly lazier social networkers the ability to provide our friends with feedback without actually having to leave a comment. On the other hand, some of our friends’ Facebook posts makes us wish we had a ‘Dislike’ button.
Sharing news, information, photos, and videos with your friends and acquaintances is what social networking is all about, and Facebook gives us all a platform to share as much as we want. But just because you have the right and the resources to publish anything you desire on your wall doesn’t mean your social network will thank you for it. Here are a few types of posts that are almost sure to be unpopular among your Facebook friends:
Heaven forbid anyone cross you, because their name is sure to end up in your Facebook status. You are never one to hold back when it comes to letting your Facebook community know who’s done you wrong. However, calling out your friends, coworkers, or roommates online is anything but classy. Not only will folks likely be hesitant to weigh in on these sensitive status updates, but they may become wary of interacting with you offline, lest they become a target of your online rants.
The Tactless Tagger
Your decisive factor for posting photos on Facebook is simple: if you look really good in the picture, it gets uploaded. Never mind that the other folks in the picture with you were blinking, crying, or having a bad hair day. And your lack of compassion doesn’t stop there; not only do you post those pictures, but you take it upon yourself to tag your less-than-photogenic friends in them. Now those friends will have to debate whether or not to risk being called vain for untagging themselves in these embarrassing and/or incriminating photos. And if they don’t untag themselves, they’ll be notified whenever someone leaves you a comment like, “OMG you look hot in this pic! Who’s the hag next to you?”
The Giddy Gamer
Farmville, CityVille, Mafia Wars… you love them all. You also adore making and taking those fun pop culture personality quizzes. And whether you’ve found a lost lamb on your farm or discovered which of Ramona’s evil exes you are from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, you always make sure to publish that business to your Facebook wall and invite your friends to join in. It’s not that the rest of us don’t like games and quizzes; we just don’t need the play-by-play in our friend feed. Fortunately, Facebook has added an option for hiding updates for certain applications, but your friends can just as easily hide you from their news feeds altogether.
OK, we know your cat just died, and your girlfriend decided she needed some space, and that it’s been cold and rainy for five days straight, and that you dropped your cell phone down an elevator shaft… because you told us in your status updates. How many times can we comment with something like, “Hey, dude, sorry you’re having a rough time,” before we finally decide to leave you to your moping? Of course, I’m not suggesting that your turn into a Pollyanna and pretend like you have no problems. There is nothing wrong with sharing your less-than-wonderful moments; just be aware of the positive things in life and share those as well.
Speaking of sharing the good things in life, there are some sure-fire ways to get your social network engaged (and coming back for more). Here are a few types of posts that your friends love to “Like”:
Even if you’ve had a bad day, the ability to find the humor in it can sometimes be the key to finding empathy from others. A friend of mine who is a middle school teacher frequently posts hilarious little stories about the precocious kids in her class. Those posts are always the most popular thing on my friend feed, and rightfully so. Comical anecdotes about school, work, and life in general are fun and relatable for your social network, and they often inspire other people to tell their own funny stories too.
The Proud Parent
There’s nothing like using photos of your unbelievably adorable offspring to grab you a ‘Top News’ spot on your friend feed. And you’ll get no complaints from me or anyone else in your social network. Now that the Facebook generation is growing up and having babies, posting pics of the kids is a great way to share our new families with long-distance relatives, old classmates, and work friends. (Plus, being able to browse the photo album on our own time is better than being cornered at work.) The bonus here is that no one is being embarrassed by getting tagged in an unflattering picture. Except maybe your kids when they get older, that is. But that’s still several years down the road.
The Audience Poll
If there’s one thing people love to share, it’s their opinions; so why not make that work for you on Facebook? Your friends and family will be more than eager to weigh in on your requests for travel tips, theme party ideas, or books to add to your reading list. And no matter what kinds of responses you get, you’re sure to learn something new—or in the very least be entertained!
The Conversation Piece
Every once in awhile, we all stumble across something online that has to be shared with as many people as possible (isn’t that what the Internet is all about?). Whether it’s a funny video, a great song, or a fresh perspective on a current event, put a link to it on your wall and let the discourse begin. Giving people something to enjoy, laugh at, or debate is one of the most beautiful aspects of social networking.