What is Netiquette?
Do you remember all those lessons growing up, about saying “please”, “thank you”, and keeping your elbows off the table? These are all part of the learning process of etiquette. Etiquette is essentially things we do in a social setting that are considered appropriate; these are the manners that you were - hopefully - taught as a child and learned from being around different people.
The new term that started right around when the Internet began its popularity was ‘netiquette’. It is the same thing, only for use in dealing with people online. There’s the saying, “don’t post online what you wouldn’t say to your mother” that seems to place an understanding of this. Often times, as we are behind the cover of a computer screen, society may not feel the same need to present themselves and their words the way we were taught to within the physical company of others.
With social networking taking off so quickly, many rules of netiquette have switched in order to include the dos and don’t of being a social online being. Here are some techniques involved with Facebook etiquette.
Because the view of online social networking is geared to people of mostly all ages (usually those thirteen and up), there have been concerns about how people present themselves online. Facebook, as one of the more popular social networks, has its own set of etiquette rules, though this is user made and done in a way that is presented as humorous and can be a bit contradictory (such as rules 9 and 11). Below are some simple and basic rules for navigating Facebook, especially for those who may be new to social media.
- Check Your Privacy - because the Internet allows for the spread of great amounts of information, this is probably the number one reason why you should pay attention to Facebook’s privacy settings. This has also been one of the site’s major failings, as it was confusing in the past. By default, everyone is allowed to view your Facebook page. That means anyone can search for you via Google or Facebook itself and everyone can see those embarrassing pictures of the last Halloween party. Make sure to view and understand the privacy settings before you start posting.
- Respect Others - this should be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how quickly this will go out the window. Remember that everyone has an opinion and has a right to share it, even if you disagree. Posting hateful things on someone’s wall does not a friend make you.
- Be Careful on Friending - One of the Facebook etiquette rules is to friend people that you went to school with, even if you don’t know. That is probably not good etiquette, as you don’t want to 1. friend people you don’t know or 2. be friends with people you don’t know. If a friend has someone you think would be interesting to speak to, make sure to add a message when sending a friend request. This alerts them to who you are and why you want to be friends.
- Be Careful of Apps - Facebook, like My Space, has a number of things to do on the site when you are not reading or posting status messages. For all of the apps, there is the ability to send someone an invitation or gifts; do not spam Facebook apps to friends who do not want to play or have no interest in playing them. If you’ve sent an invite and they haven’t responded to it, don’t continue to send invites. It is very annoying to that person and may make you look like a stalker.
There are of course a number of other rules that could apply, but overall, just remember all the life lessons you learned in the real life. They can be applied in virtual life, as well. And remember this too - people may forget, but the Internet won’t. Be careful of what you say today on Facebook, as it could be found by your children, your spouse, your parents, or your boss very easily tomorrow.