Social Media 101: Facebook Isn't Real

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I like social tools and websites. I started blogging in 2004, I opened my first Twitter account in 2007, and I’ve joined every social networking site on the planet. I even co-founded a social network for HR professionals because I think technology is fun & interesting. I wanted to learn.

Unfortunately, there are days where I want to quit Facebook and go back to my real world.

I don’t mind your Farmville updates or your Mafia Wars invites. I can delete those requests and hide your activity in my feed. What bothers me is the hyper-aggressive use of social media to spew emotion, feelings, and opinion. People who are otherwise sweet & kind will comment on my wall and write the most idiotic, racist, and sexist stuff in defense of an otherwise irrelevant position.

I’m like Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace. I find myself yelling, “Get off my lawn!”

Here are my guidelines for Facebook. Let me know if you have others you would like to add.

  • Facebook is meant to be fun. It’s not very fun when you come over to my page and insult my friends, my ideas, or my taste in music. It’s even less fun when I have to go back and delete your tone-deaf comments. Please shut up, already.
  • Facebook is like an entryway to my home. We are social media neighbors, and I expect some manners. Do you take a crap and smear it all over your neighbor’s home when you want to make a point or emphasize an idea? Please don’t come over to my Facebook wall and fling poop.
  • None of this is real. I don’t post pictures of myself in my glasses & retainers. You will never see anything more than what I want you to see. I assume the same about you. Let’s show some maturity and exercise our critical thinking skills. Accept that Facebook is just a snapshot of life and move on.
  • Facebook isn’t a space for deep and meaningful conversation. It’s the least conversational site, actually. When I post something on my wall, I don’t want to hear from naysayers & Debbie Downers. I want to hear from like-minded people who are fun & interesting. I don’t mind witty banter and light discussion, but I am looking to keep things lighthearted. If I wanted to have an important conversation with you about serious issues, I would call you. At the very least, I would tweet about it.
  • Facebook isn’t Meet the Press. You are not a genius political thinker, either. You won’t change my mind about Obama, abortion, religion, women’s rights, feminism, or any other issue. I won’t change your mind, either. When did you stop assuming that I am an intelligent & educated human being? Don’t you respect me? Isn’t that why we’re friends in the first place? I am open to some new ideas, and I respect your opinion, but Facebook is not the place. Period. I know you missed your calling as a political advisor. Please go advise someone else.

I love social tools and value the online connections in my life. I like seeing pictures of your children. I want to hear about your pets and your job. This is important to me and makes my life better.

Very simply, I hope that aggressive users of Facebook will mature, slow down, and chill the heck out.

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