It’s been a tough first decade for Facebook filled with lawsuits, a blockbuster movie based on its creation, redesigns that angered users and a botched IPO. But above all else, it’s changed the way we communicate—for better or for worse.
“We use it as a major source of getting our information in a quick and efficient manner, and we know things now about people we couldn’t possibly keep up with in the past,” says modern manners and etiquette expert Diane Gottsman. “The down side is that we have become, for lack of a better word, addicted to it.”
Here are Gottsman’s 10 biggest do’s and don’ts for Facebook (FB) users in honor of its milestone:
DO: Reciprocate your friends and colleagues in goodwill. Gottsman says if people are taking the time to “Like” your posts and share, you should do the same. “When they have content that is valuable, make sure you do the same for them.”
DO: Ask permission before posting. Facebook is all about up-to-the-minute updates, but Gottsman says you should always clear posting anything that involves or shows another person.
“In some situations, like a wedding, if you are posting a picture and the bride and groom haven’t even said, ‘I do,’ you need to be more respectful of what you post,” she says.
DO: Make an effort to private message friends if you suspect they’ve been hacked. If you see a post on a friend’s wall that doesn’t appear to be from him or her, let the person know, she recommends.
DO: Be aware of your tone on your account. “Re-read your own posts to make sure your message is being delivered in the tone you want to convey,” Gottsman says. Just because you quickly type something up and publish it with just a push of a button doesn’t mean you should.
DO: Respond to comments and questions. “It’s important to show other people you are reading a positive comment or question,” Gottsman says. “Interact—that’s what Facebook was created for.”
DON’T: Expect strangers to accept your friend requests. Gottsman recommends only “friending” people you know, and not to “call someone and ask why they didn’t accept a request.”
DON’T: Share an unflattering photo of someone else without consent. It may be tempting to do so, but Gottsman says not to do so, even if you look fabulous.
DON’T: Harass your followers. This can be done in many ways, but Gottsman says a more frequent example popping up across Facebook pages is the threat that you will “unfollow those who don’t interact with you.” She says this comes across as aggressive and desperate and can lead to you being unfollowed.
DON’T: Over share. Some may argue that after 10 years, Facebook has become the hotspot to do just that, but try to avoid over sharing your political and religious views, as well as information on your romantic life--or lack thereof. “Don’t over-post, or flood people’s newsfeeds.”
And be conscious of when you are posting. “Some people may be interested in your hernia operation, but far more people would say, ‘TMI’.
DON’T: Post during the work day. This is a surefire way to get a sit-down or warning from your employer about productivity, says Gottsman. Also don’t friend your boss or coworkers.
“Even if your account is private, nothing is ever truly private on social media.”