4 Basic Guidelines for Facebook Etiquette

I am a follower of Jesus Christ (some people call us Christians) and I also like to use the internet to chat with friends, find cool things, and write out my thoughts.  So to a lot of people I am a representation of what it looks like to follow Jesus.  However, I have several friends and acquaintances that also say they rep. Jesus, but they do some crazy things with their facebook profiles that make us wonder whats really going on.

To be fair, none of us are perfect.  Following Jesus isn’t about being perfect, its about following, and sometimes we all can get a little “off track.”  Thankfully God has provided the way for us to be forgiven and come back into a right relationship with Him.  Still we should guard our online presence in the same way we are to guard our actually words.  It amazes me that sometimes we post things on facebook that we wouldn’t say to people face to face.  So here are 4 basic guidelines for facebook etiquette.

1. Don’t rat someone out of your facebook status

So you have a disagreement with someone about something.  Don’t post, “Some people make me really angry!”  You may feel that since you didn’t mention their name that it isn’t gossip or slander.  Inevitably someone comments, “what happened?” and you are either inclined to say what happened or ignore them making the interest pique all the more.  Better to not post than to drag a disagreement in the public forum or worse cause all your friends to guess at who you could possibly make you so mad.

2. Comment on other people’s profiles like you would want other people to comment on yours

If you disagree with something I post, that is okay.  If you are really offended, tell me in private and we can seek reconciliation. Don’t comment on my post that I am a jerk, idiot, or whatever.  See Guidelines #3 and #4 for more details.  If you have a comment, but wouldn’t want someone posting the same comment on your profile, then don’t post it.  If the post can not go unanswered send a message.  It is much more private and will give you the opportunity to work things out.

3. Remember facebook is very public, not private

Ok so I post, “I like spaghetti” on my profile.  Then you remember a funny (yet embarrassing) story about me and spaghetti.  You think it will be funny to comment on my “I like spaghetti” status because we have 3 friends in common who will think of the incident and laugh.  What you failed to take into account was the fact that I have 758 other friends who have no clue who you are or know the full story behind the “spaghetti incident.” What you posted as an “inside joke” and was funny to a few people can makes you look like a jerk and damages your reputation with my other friends.

4. Befriend and de-friend for the right reasons

Don’t de-friend someone just because they made you mad.  You might eventually get over it.  Resist the urge for a few days and see if things workout.

However, sometimes people have facebook profiles and they don’t need to be your friend.  They may think they are entitled, but the are not.  You choose who your facebook friends are and are not.  A few basic guidelines that I like to follow are listed below…

  • Ex-girlfriends or boyfriends probably don’t need to be your friend on FaceBook (unless it was in the distant past).  If you just came off a bad break up, you are still going to be tempted to send harassing messages back and forth.  Cut the excess drama out of your life and cut the FB friendship.
  • People who are prone to excessive gossip and slander.  You may have been hurt by past rumors and accusations and even come to a place of forgiveness.  But just because they are forgiven doesn’t mean they deserve a spot among your facebook friends.  Why would you give them open ground and opportunity to hurt you further?
  • Toxic people.  While the two mentioned above could be considered toxic people, this guideline covers the rest.  These are the people who are out to cut you down.  We all have friends who have bad days and maybe there is a disagreement from time to time, but you do not have to invite people into your facebook world who go off on you every time they get upset.