The rumors vary, but someone at work did something stupid on Facebook. I have no idea what it was, but the popular story involved a stripper pole and a uniform shirt. This led to a very broad policy that prevents us from discussing any connection to work on a social networking site.
My day job supplies a full day’s supply of frustration and anger. FaceBook, in general, is a positive experience. Since I’m not a super-social butterfly, it’s nice to keep up with friends and family and take on some good vibes. I have a strong tendency toward being an arrogant prick, so this is an effort to keep that off my page unless it’s in good humor. With a 500+ friend list, there’s a downer in the bunch every once in a while. I decided to take measures to NOT be the downer.
I began researching other agencies’ policies and those of the private sector. It occurred to me that these policies all serve a purpose: Keep the entity from looking stupid. I do plenty of stupid things, so maybe a few guidelines are in order to help me along. This is also a simple step of emulating the people who do it right.
Remember, employers often use social networking sites to make decisions on hiring, and often they are used by competition and opposition to monitor the “other side.”
These are a collection of things I picked up along the way. Unfortunately, some are lessons learned from my own social networking blunders. Most of it is an extension of what my parents taught me: If you can’t say anything nice…
1. Keep all Facebook contact positive.
2. No politics or religion. Yep, Grandma was right. I have my own opinions based on 41 years of walking on this rock. As I said in the first post on this blog, I find politics extremely frustrating and negative. I’ve found ways to exercise my freedoms in the political arena and it’s not on FB. Political posts tend to be erroneous, emotional and often maddening. Religious postings are so voluminous and repetitive that they are read very little.
3. Never “unfriend” anyone. If someone is a FB friend, we’ve had some positive contact. We’ve shaken hands, shared something or maybe have some common ground but never met. Whatever the case, we’ve chosen to align. The “unfriend” option seems pretty childish to me. When a “friend” posts negative, stupid nonsense on their page, I choose to “unsubscribe.” This has recently (I think) become available on band pages. When a “liked” band toured or released an album it would bombard you with comments. You can now turn it down a bit.
4. No Facebook Suicide. Take a break instead of cancelling an account. I recommend unplugging from the grid completely for days at a time.
5. Remove negative comments made to your posts.
6. Use the family and friends groupings that allow posts to be visible only in certain groups. The less you post, the more you’re read. If you’re like me and sometimes use your page for advertising, this is a plus.
7. Use a blog for venting unless it’s funny venting. Friends will laugh at the story of the lady with back cleavage and a tube top but hearing about how “some people should mind their own business” violates rule #1. Never make a passive-aggressive attack against anyone on your friend list.
8. No cries for attention. This means not posting, “OMG, this is terrible! It’s the end of the world, the worst news I’ve ever gotten” which is followed by twenty posts from readers asking what happened with no reply from the poster.
9. If there is any possibility that a post may be pushing the limit, don’t post it. It’s only Facebook.
10. Feel free to violate any rule if it will be seriously funny.
So there it is. May your FaceBook experience be regret-free.