How to Facebook

For those of you without a Facebook, every person has a “profile” with a “wall” that friends can write on and post photos. Facebook seems to have undergone a metamorphosis from a source of freedom to a forum in which judgment calls and matters of decorum are constant stresses.

We, the Facebookers of the nation, have thrust these peculiar rules upon ourselves; I did not receive a user manual with all of the social protocol plainly laid out for me.

A classic example of Facebook etiquette would be the seemingly-simple task of writing happy birthday on somebody’s wall. I always ask myself two questions: “Do I even know who this person is?” and “Would posting on this person’s wall be worth all the effort?” All that is left is to actually write the post.

Do you capitalize the letters? Mention their name? Any exclamation points? Some extra and unnecessary letters as personal flare? Maybe you should mention a little anecdote about that one time in English class when someone made a “that’s what she said” joke. Perhaps no punctuation would be best; after all, they did make that sarcastic comment to you during break a few days ago…

From time to time, a friend uploads photos of a gathering you were not invited to. I could comment on some photos to show that there are no hard feelings between us, or I could comment on every single photo with words of disgust and sorrow.

Facebook also makes it so easy to know what someone is doing all the time thanks to the mini-feed on our homepages (or as I like to call it, the stalker-feed). This only facilitates procrastination and is an extremely creepy tendency that is normally socially unacceptable.

Clearly, Facebook is causing more problems than the friendly slogan on the site (“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life”) leads on.

Nevertheless, knowing that there is something hovering over me, a virtual guardian angel perhaps, preventing me from brashly going on an angry-comment rampage or from Facebook stalking my classmates is oddly comforting.

My fellow Facebook users, the future of Facebook as we know it is in our hands. Maybe I will add that extra “y” at the end of “birthday” in my happy birthday post. Maybe I won’t.

Next time I’ll think twice before I copy and paste a sad face on every photo in my friend’s album. Or better yet, I’ll forgive Facebook for unintentionally forcing me to be on my best cyber behavior.

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