An Unsaid Etiquette

Etiquette; this is a pretty sounding word that has lost its real meaning. Etiquette is defined by as the “Conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.” Since our communication is now mostly a virtual experience, is this etiquette applied in the cyber world? We would like to think so, but it is not written in stone. Nonetheless, there are most definitely unsaid rules when it comes to Facebook.

Thou shall not over-post. Posting too much within a few hours is a sure way to irritate your friends. People may “hide” you from their newsfeed and refuse to look through your pictures of the daily log you have posted of your meals or updates about the weather they are experiencing for themselves.

Thou shall not over-Facebook-stalk. We all have done our fair share of creeping, but when you cross the line of creeping, to stalking, there is no going back. “Liking” every post someone has updated or commenting on more than two pictures in one sitting is extreme. Do you not know that you are to stalk silently? Ye shall browse, and shalt be neither seen, nor heard from too repeatedly.

Thou shall not add friends of friends just because you think they are attractive. This is just a little odd. It puts that stranger in a difficult position, racking their brain to figure out if they have met you through that mutual friend or in another way. Some people add friends without thinking twice about it. But the rest of us who are pickier about our friends, are torn between possibly hurting your feelings if you two really are friends and then denying your request, or adding you at the chance of you being a friend and regretting it when you start bothering them. Who knew Facebook was second best to a dating website?

Thou shall not be a Debbie-Downer. You do have some real friends on Facebook. But the majority of those 350+ friends do not particularly want to hear about your bad day. They have had their fair share of tough days and do not feel any sympathy for you. That’s one of the downsides about communicating virtually, you lose the humanistic emotions that would normally be there if you were venting in person vs. Internet. Posting too many personal and depressing statuses is a sure way to get yourself “hid” once again.

Thou shall not chat too often. Just because someone is online does not mean they want to communicate via the instant chat. Please do not abuse this annoying tool that Facebook incorporated in the last year. Save the awkward silence of your screen when that person is supposedly online and not replying to your message, and then suddenly is updated to unavailable.

With the five commandments of Facebook chatting re-established, hopefully virtual communication will flow smoother. After all, this is still new to many users and it takes a while to get the hang of how it works. Most of us have picked up on the silent etiquette of online interaction. While it is not necessarily written in stone, maybe it should be written someplace.

-Natalie Slatton

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