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Facebook and other social media websites are a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. But with these exciting new technologies also comes brand new ways to blunder our way into boring or agitating our friends. Want to avoid contracting a virtual case of foot-in-mouth disease? Here are five Facebook faux pas you’ll definitely want to avoid.
1. Keep It Interesting
That cranberry muffin I ate for breakfast was delicious, but I doubt it would interest very many of my Facebook friends. Before you post, ask yourself this simple question: “If someone else posted this update, would I find it interesting and worth reading?”
2. Don’t Post Haste
Most of us have at least one Facebook friend who posts 30 or more status updates every day. Even if the content is interesting, the sheer volume can be fatiguing, and eventually we begin to tune that friend out. Are you that friend? I’m sorry, but the next time you post an important update I may inadvertently skim right past it.
3. Don’t Overshare
Liking and commenting on friends’ pics and posts is a fun way to stay in touch. But don’t get too personal, at least not in public. If you have something critical or potentially embarrassing to share, like “I don’t think those new jeans are your best look,” send a private message, use email, or send a text message. Remember, posting to a friend’s wall is akin to speaking into a microphone in front of a gathering of all of their friends and family members.
4. Let It Cool Down
There’s nothing wrong with discussing important subjects or introducing a bit of controversy into your timeline, but consider holding back, at least for a few hours. Reread your post later with fresh eyes, and before you press the send button ask yourself, “Did I express myself clearly? Am I provoking someone just to be argumentative? Will what I have to say offend or hurt feelings needlessly?”
5. Match the Formatting to the Feeling
NEVER POST IN ALL CAPS! TO OTHERS IT WILL SEEM LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING ANGRILY!! Remember, the written word can’t always carry the correct emotional context. If you write something that can be misinterpreted, add a wink, a smiley face, or another emoticon that can help express those subtle messages usually conveyed by tone of voice or body language.