Facebook and Acceptable Behavior

OK, friends of mine on Facebook. I like you. I like you a lot. But don’t ask me milk your cow or join Mafia Wars.

And no, if you throw food at me, I’ll probably smack your hand, if not your head.

I do like your family photos, the class reunion updates and how fat Ted has gotten since High School and I even appreciate most of the funny stories about your kiddies. And I cheer you on when you’re doing well at work and when you’ve cooked a super meal.

But I’m finding that the technology of Facebook’s gives us the ability in the world of bits and bytes to burp out loud in public, scratch in places we shouldn’t be seen scratching in and butting in line at McDonald’s. In other words, it seems to give us the freedom to engage in bad habits that even irritate friends after awhile.

There are a lot of things we do online that we’d never dream of doing in reality because we know they’re impolite, annoying and downright mean. But maybe because so many people are new to cyberspace, they’re not aware of how they’re bugging their Facebook friends.

CBS commissioned a study recently to find out what people are doing on Facebook. According to the survey there are three things we do on Facebook that are ultimately annoying and why we shouldn’t do them.

Farmville: There’s about 60 million people building cutesy little farms and swapping livestock. Actually, so many people are spending real money to buy and build pretend barns and hay stacks that Facebook has created its own currency. Farmville is only one of more than a dozen games that people spend hours and days playing. What is it that makes the games so popular? According to Time magazine, Farmville manipulates you into playing.

I know that no one should be able to tell you that you can’t spend your hard earned paycheck to buy pretend guns and cars to protect your property in Mafia Wars. But the repetitive updates generated so many complaints that Facebook has started to restrict the number of posts sent to non-gamers.

Be that as it may, the games still encourage players to manipulate their friends with cries of help like: “My cow is lost! Please help me find her!”. Or, my favorite, “Help me build my barn/plant my crops/fix my tractor!” C’mon people. You asked for less help when your mother was in the hospital.

It makes some people feel guilty to ignore you. I like you, but I’m working and Bessy, the lost cow, is not real. Get a life. If you promise to stop asking me for help on a farm that only exists in cyberspace, I promise to help when you need me in real life.

Inappropriate Tagging: One day you went to a party, got a little blitzed and ended up napping on the pool table drooling onto the felt. Of course, one of your friends snapped a cell phone photo and posted it on Facebook.

The photo is hilarious. Your friends want to see it. Putting up an embarrassing picture of a friend is NOT the crime. The crime is “tagging” the photo so that your friends’ boss or potential boss can easily find it too.

Jodi Schneider, a veteran recruiter and trainer who writes the blog DCWorks tells all job applicants that talk to her to scrub their Facebook profiles before passing out the resume. That’s a good idea, but one of the most stubborn problems for young applicants are the friends who never think twice before tagging the potentially trouble making photo.

If you’re among the three people who don’t know, “tagging” means that you’ve labeled a photo or post with someone’s name. Once you’ve labeled it, that photo is going to show up on the “tagged” person’s Facebook account whether they uploaded it or not.

“That could keep your buddy from getting work”, said Schneider. So post all the photos you want, but use some discretion about identifying a friend acting badly.

Unrelenting “like”rs: While not as potentially costly as the games or as potentially career ending like “tagging”, the respondents to the poll found people who are chronic “like”rs to be the most irritating. Some people seem to “like” everything on your wall and some seem to need affirmation that you do too.

You know the type. Everything from the newest recipe to the latest video by your favorite band to your latest rant about your boss is suddenly on their radar and they’ve “liked” it. Be honest, you don’t like that many things about the friends you have in real life – why should your Facebook friends be any different.

When asked to describe a chronic “like”r in one word, the continuum of answers ran from childish to downright creepy – and there wasn’t anything good in between.

Just last week, The Washington Post reported that a man in Shreveport had traveled to Washington D.C. to try to find out why a friend of his had “unfriended” him on Facebook. He apparently had developed a “cyber crush” on a lady he met online and chronically “liked” everything she posted. When she found this behavior move from the childish end of the scale to the downright creepy end, she blocked him. He drove the 19 hours from Shreveport to D.C. and she called the police when he refused to stop banging on her front door at 2am demanding to know why she had unfriended him.

Like as many things as you like in the real world, but use Facebook’s “like” button sparingly.

Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation’s capital.

CLICK HERE to see more of Nelson’s work or to hire him for a shoot.

2 thoughts on “Facebook and Acceptable Behavior

  1. Why I stay on LinkedIn and Twitter and as far away from Facebook as I can!! Great Story!! Happy Thanksgiving!! Mike

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