Thursday, June 21, 2012

Facebook étiquette

"Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person." — Mark Twain, Notebook, 1898

THIS WHOLE Facebook thing is a bit of a quandary to me. I haven't quite decided what I think about it. 

Paul was much more of an early adopter and "got" how it works right away. I was slower to give it a try, and I'm not very good at it yet. The jury is still out as far as I'm concerned. I might be like my friend Ann, and give it a miss altogether.

On the one hand, it's nice to be able to keep up with events in the lives of family members and close friends, and on the other — well, I've got four other hands.

1) I'm by nature not a joiner (Rotary would be the exception; it's completely amazing that I've stuck with it). I also have somewhat of your basic luddite mistrust of the whole linked-in thing — both literally and figuratively. I signed up for Linkedin, and ditched it soon after. Temperamentally, it might not suit me.

2) Although a person generally speaking enjoys hearing what's going on with those you feel close to, you're also subject to all sorts of details about others' lives that you might just prefer not knowing. A little of the TMI thing going on.

3) Following all these events and activities and thoughts for such a crew of people can eat up a whole lot of time!

4) There also seems to be a certain amount of bad manners practiced by users. I've been paying attention to how a Facebook presence is managed by those who seem gracious to me in their use of it, and from what I can tell, the proper etiquette is that if someone takes the time to comment on something you've posted, it's polite to "like" the comment as a means of essentially saying "thank you for taking the time to read and respond."

And although I faithfully read and "like" what certain contributors post, they never return the compliment. It's understandable in the case of public figures who have thousands of "friends" (though I was pleasantly surprised to have Frank Bruni from the New York Times reply via email), but in the case of family members, friends and friendly acquaintances, it seems rude not to be reciprocal. The nonverbal — or perhaps I should call it the non-clicked message — is that what those particular posters are thinking, saying or doing is so terribly interesting, meaningful, cute, erudite, or wise and so on and so on, but the same is not true in reverse. "I'm fascinating; you're not."

Paul recently had a great time removing people from his list. I'm considering the same, or at least being as unconcerned with those who are unconcerned with me. As Grandpa used to say, "What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander," or as Grandma would say, "Turn about is fair play."
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment