Oct 20, 2015

Social Media Etiquette - the Don'ts

I'm no Emily Post, but I do have some small amount of common sense and as such, it annoys the heck out of me when I see people blatantly throwing that to the wind.  So let's talk Facebook foibles.

Annoying Things People Do on Facebook

Facebook seems to have become the hub for people who abuse social media.  And by "abuse" I primarily mean not understanding that Facebook is like a party you're having with every single acquaintance you have and everything you post is something you're saying to that entire group.

Here's just a few of the things I see on a regular basis.

1. "Vaguebooking"

I just saw this term on Reddit the other day and it's so perfect!  You know when someone posts something vague that's meant to get sympathy but won't actually tell anyone what they're referring to?  Usually it's fairly obvious what's going on, but throwing that thin veil of vagueness gives them the illusion of privacy.  Or perhaps it's a deliberate attempt to be mysterious.  Either way, annoying.

  • "It is just so sad when you can't trust the person who is supposed to love you most and never, ever betray you."
  • "Some people just can't stand to see you happy and will do anything to bring you down."

2. Airing Dirty Laundry

Usually the former example crosses over into this territory.  When someone posts their woes or gossip or whatever, they're not just venting.  They're venting to everyone at the "party."  Do your coworkers, classmates, and that random guy from the party all need to know this information?  Just perhaps, that sort of thing would probably be better handled by a private phone call to your bestie.

  • "So he cheats on me and then I'M the 'effin bitch'???  Wth?!"
  • "___ was the last straw!  I'm done."

3. Digital PDA

The flip side of airing your personal problems is all those sentimental, lovey-dovey posts.  Is there anything wrong with what those infatuated souls are saying?  No.  But remember the party scenario.  Instead of discretely whispering, "I love you so much, you're the best person in the world, I am so grateful for all the blah, blah, blah" they're choosing to shout it across the room.  I will never understand why people feel the need to air their sentimental relationship stuff to everyone.  What's wrong with private messaging?  Or, here's a thought, saying it in-person!  Oh, and sexual references?  Please don't.  There's a few people who are perfectly comfortable grinding on their significant other in public, but most of us agree that we don't want to watch it.  Go do your foreplay at home.

  • Link to study/article/pseudo science that references "in the bedroom."
  • Most emotions, unless you're telling the rest of your friends about them also

4. Hypocrisy and Immature Arguing

I don't debate or enter discussions about social issues on Facebook anymore, because the majority of people are bad at arguing in person and even worse without the face-to-face connection.  I myself get offended far too easily when someone disagrees with me.  That's not terribly mature, but it's fairly normal.  However, when someone posts about controversial topics, they cannot then expect everyone else to shut up and not air their opinions.  Those people have just as much right to say what they think as the original poster.  The choices are to be willing to argue or to moderate your topic a little bit.  No one should be offended that someone expressed a different opinion (as long as they did it respectfully) and deleting their posts in an attempt to negate what they think is just childish.

  • "Um, no one asked you."
  • "How dare you post on MY wall to disagree with MY opinion?!  You have no right..."

5. Complaining About Other People's Topic Choices

Some people just don't like to talk politics or social issues at all on Facebook.  I get that.  But you can't tell other people what to talk about (small amount of irony here, but I'm not telling anyone what to talk about, just why some things are rude).  If we don't like what someone talks about, we have the freedom to unfollow or unfriend.  Not that hard.  I don't particularly enjoy recaps of mundane activities ("going to the grocery store"), an excessive amount of baby updates ("19 months old today!"), or anything that makes fun of other people ("My neighbor has bizarre pets, what a redneck.").  With the exception of the last one, I usually just follow my own advice and unfollow.

  • "I really don't think ___ should be talked about on Facebook."
  • "Can we all just stop talking about ___?"

Bonus!  Your Pet Peeves.

So I asked on Twitter what people thought were annoying and a couple said things I'd already written here ("vaguebooking" and digital PDA).  But here's the others I didn't think of:
  • Giveaways and sales talk overload
  • Linked social accounts - seeing the same thing over and over again
  • Mundane posts (think the really random ones about chores, daily itinerary, or "can't sleep")

I haven't spent enough time on other media outlets (other than the blog) to really know if they have similar issues, or if it's completely different ones (anyone got pet peeves for Instagram/Twitter/whatever?).  But the pattern that I see with social media etiquette fails is that people forget that they're on the Internet.  And so is everybody else.

Facebook isn't a friendly chat with your neighbor.  Facebook is a drunken club with a bunch of other people who may or may not be in possession of their faculties.

Sometimes it feels more like sending out a note in a bottle on a stranded beach, but whether or not you see them, everyone is still there.  You never know if you're going to get a response or a deluge and that's not anyone else's fault.  They've got just as much right to be there as you.

EDIT: A couple people beat me to this (but I had it scheduled, I swear!).  As they are funnier than me, I thought I'd share their posts: Faster than Forever and Airing My Laundry.

What are your social media pet peeves?  What do people do differently (but equally annoyingly) on other social media channels?

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  1. All so true!! I hate people that do that vague thing in real life ("Sigh. Husband was such a jerk today." .... ok cool, not going to ask you what happened, stop digging for attention.) so to see it on the internet is even worse somehow.
    One of mine: people who complain a lot about how what they're seeing on instagram/blogs/etc isn't 'real.' You know what's real? All that crap you listed. Give me fake happy photos and statuses of your SO and your dog and your staged pumpkins any day.

  2. I hate the vague thing and it's not just a social media problem, some people vague blog too which drives me even more insane. Blog it or don't blog it but don't half ass it.

    I like do watch FB drama from the sidelines though, it's like reality TV only I know the people. Hahaha

  3. I don't even know why I really bother scrolling through my facebook feed anymore. I would say at least 75% of the stuff I see annoys me on some level. Way too much dirty laundry airing, look at me look at me attention whores, Roden Fields shit that I am so sick of seeing, or being super vague. I see bloggers being vague about shit too. If you dont want to come out and say it, then dont post about it in the first place!

  4. bahahaha #5 made me laugh so hard at the small amount of irony.
    i deleted everyone from facebook, except for family / friends in aus that i have no other way of contacting. i was so sick of all of these things. ESPECIALLY the vaguebooking one. GAH. you know what is ironic? or not really but just annoying? i was such a little vaguebooker back in the day, like 7-8 years ago. hahaha.

  5. Jordan and I do not understand the FB PDA. Why??? Husbands and wives are writing I love you on each other's walls. Don't understand!

  6. Yes to all!!! I think its funny that the FB PDA people are usually the ones where one of them is trying to cheat, or actually cheating.

  7. Thanks for the shout out! Oooh, I forgot about the giveaways/sales posts, but definitely agree that they're annoying too. I'm pretty sure we've already covered the fact that we're on the same page on this :)

  8. I think Twitter has gotten really nasty. I don't know why but the abuse and meanness has taken over.

    1. That's an interesting perspective. I haven't really noticed that, but I also haven't been active very long so I don't have much of a frame of reference. And also I typically only interact with a few people (the same ones I talk to here!) and they're all nice people. So maybe I'm just shielded from it.


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