Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Facebook Etiquette

I've been around (actively) on Facebook for almost four years now and in those four years I have seen people post, comment, assume, overreact to someone else's posts and do numerous other things that I doubt they would do/talk about/implement/say to someone's face in real life. What's more, I have seen people project themselves as someone they're not and in the process make a fool of themselves. Now I really don't care about what kind of image they are creating of themselves, but when I am involved somewhere, I believe I do have the right to be concerned and I am well within my rights when I choose to object to some of the nonsense that goes around in the virtual world.

This, however, wouldn't have been the case if we all followed a few simple rules and basic online etiquette because not following these basic rules has resulted in having the opposite effect of what Facebook was intended to have. It's obvious that these rules are not written anywhere because THIS is not how Mark Zuckerberg thought people would behave when he created Facebook so he didn't feel the need to put them down in print. But I think it is needed and it is needed now.

I consider this post as a favour to Mark and I am sure he willappreciate the fact that I am taking the effort to spell these out while I could have, well, slept an extra hour or two. He will appreciate this more because he knows how important sleep is to me. We're kind of close that way. ;)

Listed below are a few things that annoy me and I wish people on my friend list would do them differently, especially when it relates to me. I am pretty sure that after reading this post, quite a few people may not want to be friends with me any longer, and if you are one of those people, feel free to do that because you’re just going to prove me right. How, you ask? You might want to read on.

Tagging me in posts and pictures.
It seems to me that people have the whole concept of tagging WRONG. Tagging people in pictures is supposed to show your friends who's who; basically help them identify the unknown faces in the gazillion pictures that exist all over Facebook. It also helps people (who are tagged) know that there's a picture of them on Facebook and be updated with what other people have to say. Basically, when you tag someone in a picture, they're supposed to be IN the picture. I think the same applies for statuses as well.

Here's what it is NOT for.
(i)    Getting people to see the picture/getting attention to your picture
(ii)   Anything other than what I've just mentioned.

Why is it annoying?
(i)   I don't know if people know this, but whoever is tagged in a picture or post gets a notification on Facebook (and email if they've opted for it) every time someone comments on it. I DO NOT want my email and notifications to be SPAMMED with comments that absolutely DO NOT concern me in any way.
(ii)  I DO NOT want to read about how great you look, or what a great picture it is UNLESS I am IN the picture or I'm the one standing behind the damn camera clicking the shit.
(iii) I DO NOT care to be tagged in pictures that have quotes or sayings because again, I am not in the picture and, well, how do I put this lightly?? I DO NOT CARE!!

Here's what you can do...
My friend Mark and his brilliant team of computer techies saw what people were doing and they decided to make this simpler for everyone. They invented something called as 'mentioning' people in comments, which kind of serves the same purpose without attracting a whole bunch of nonsense towards people who don't care for it. 

So mention me in a comment if you really want to, but don't tag me where it's not my business or I'll start butting in where it's not my business. 

Statuses about other people
Since its inception, Facebook has not only been a medium for people toconnect from across the globe – long lost friends have met, you get to be in touch with friends that go away to another country, and new friends have been made – it has also been playing the role of an agony aunt. When people are upset or angry at someone or want to make someone jealous, Facebook has been their go-to place, which would have been fine if it meant that it was private. But when what you do on the internet appears on the News Feed of everyone who is on your friend list, you might want to be careful and not sound whiny or bitchy or heartless, because your twisted words in third person about how you don’t care about someone and you have so many wonderful people in your life that you don’t need someone, sound just that – TWISTED.

When you do this, I am forced to go check how old you are, because really only high school kids behave this way. And if you are really still in school then you probably shouldn't even be on Facebook.

But I am not complaining about kids. I'm talking about adults; married adults, some even with kids, who talk about other people in third person and air their grievances via status updates. And it annoys me. Instead of letting the whole world know, you can do either of two things that'll make me very very happy even though it doesn’t concern me at all, because if you do these, then I won’t have to know about all that is wrong in your life.
(i)  If someone has hurt/upset/annoyed/angered you that bad; the mature, grown up, adult thing to do would be to just tell that person to their face that you have a problem. Doing it in third person via a status message is not only impersonal and tacky but mostly cowardly and only you think you sound cool. Everyone else knows you don't have the balls to actually confront the other person.
(ii)  If you're obviously too cowardly for (i) above, then I have a simpler solutionthat doesn’t require balls. It just requires good hand function to go press “Unfriend”on Facebook or better yet, if they bother you so much that you think you don’t want to be friends in real life too, just cut them out and maybe they'll get the point. Don't pretend to be their friend and bitch about them to the world. So not cool. 

‘Unfriend’ing People
The easiest way of getting back at people on Facebook seems to be removing them from your friend list. While that is alright if the problem is really huge and you don’t want to have anything to do with that person or that person is someone who you barely interact with on Facebook; it’s a rather childlike behaviour when you delete someone just because their comment was a little weird or they disagreed with you on your status or didn’t ‘like’ or comment on your activity. I mean, really, are we defining friendships by actions or inactions on Facebook these days? Whatever happened to real friendships; friendships that aren’t bound by any rules or online obligations to ‘like’ or comment on posts, pictures and other stuff you update? It seems like real friendships don’t evenexist anymore.

It’s not like I have never deleted anyone from my friend list, because I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t, but it was after thinking really hard about my decision. It was after being extremely sure that I absolutely didn’t want to be in contact or the person I was deleting was someone I barely knew, so it didn’t matter. I wanted to be really really sure because I didn’t want to be the person who threw away a good friendship for something silly and realised it two days later.  

Imagine deleting someone and then sending them a friend request a few days/weeks later. You won’t even have a place to hide your online face!

Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation
I’m extremely positive that people get confused between Facebook and Twitter, and most of these people might not have even heard of Twitter, in which case they have Facebook confused with SMS, because the way people post stuff sometimes makes me think they’re either on a character limit that won’t allow them to post over 140 characters or it might cost them money. 

No? Really? That’s not the reason? Then why do people eliminate vowels and essential punctuation? It makes things so difficult to read that I just choose to ignore it.

If a two year old writes that way, it’sexcusable, but educated grown-ups, come on! You know, of all the things we were taught in school and we wondered, “Will we ever use calculus or quadratic equations in real life??” English, WRITTEN English is something we chose to use in real life EVERYDAY the day we signed up for Facebook and people seem to take that for granted. Its like we’re supposed to assume they mean something, when what they’ve actually written sometimes looks like their fingers just fell on thekeyboard and they clicked on ‘Post.’ Not acceptable, AT ALL; especially if you want people to read and respond. Well, at least not to people like me.

And here’s a little extra from me, and this one is especially for those who type with the goal of sounding cool and hip and type “mah” instead of “my” (and the likes) on the pretext of using SMS lingo. SMS lingo had a purpose. It required that a message be complete in 160 characters and therefore, cutting down on a few vowels and sometimes even consonants was allowed, just to be able to get the message across. I am fine if people use this while chatting too as the conversation needs to move fast and checking for spelling, grammar and punctuation may actually be a pain and you could lose track.(Yes ‘lose’ and not ‘loose.’ Your clothes can be loose but you can only lose your mind when reading such poorly written English.) But where it’s inexcusable, is in emails, status updates, comments and the worst is Blog posts!! But we’re not talking about policing blogging lingo, so we’ll get to that some other time.And it’s not like a PhD in English is required to know this. Anyone who has ever gone to school is supposed to know this.

Coming back to morons who write “mah,” I don’t think they realise that it actually takes one alphabet more of an effort to type, instead of good old “my.” Just saying in case you didn’t notice.

Just because I am ‘friends’ with you does not make me ‘your friend.’
People really need to learn to respect boundaries. Sure I accepted your friend request because I knew you studied in the same college that I did or went to the same school as me or share the same interests as me. But I don’t remember allowing you to call me ‘Niki.’ It makes it sound like we’re friends, when we really really are NOT.

It’s really annoying when people, especially men, that you don’t really know or havent met or been in touch with for a really long time, shorten your name. I believe a nickname is a personal thing and only people close to me should be allowed to call me that. And it’s not like I've not told this to people who have called me ‘Niki’ the first day we met, it’s just that people don’t take it seriously.

New Rule
If youdon’t meet me regularly or speak to me on the phone, ever, or are not a closefriend of mine; bascially, if there is barely any interaction between us in the real or virtual world, you’re NOT allowed to call me ‘Niki’ in the one conversation that we have in a year or so. And that applies as much to people in real life, as it does online. If you do, I will not respond. If you continue, you may be asked to called me ‘Ms. Azad.’ Try me.

People telling me to not post about THEM on Facebook
This one might be the most annoying thing people do (only next to calling me ‘Niki’) because they actually do this to my face and I am tempted to tell them where they can go and what they could do there.

I admit that I am extremely active on Facebook and you get to see a lot of updates from me, some personal, some nonsensical (maybe even worth ignoring.) But just because I don’t hesitate before talking about my life online does not mean I will take the liberty to broadcast yours. I know I don’t need permission from anyone before I decide to post something that’s about me and if you don’t like seeing my updates, feel free to block me or delete me, I will not object or hold it against you.

But when you tell me something about your life and then add, “But please don’t update it on Facebook,” how I react in front of you is, “Of course not,”and I do that with a smile on my face. What I’m really feeling, is close to exploding and breaking something that’s within reach (on your head if I could,) because really, do youthink I have nothing better to do than share what’s going on in YOUR life on MY Facebook Wall Timeline?

First of all, you are not that important enough to me to deserve a status update about you. If you were, I wouldn’t need your permission to update whatever the hell I wanted about you without even asking you. Secondly, why would MY friends want to read about YOU? I’m not even sure if they want to read about me, let alone something about someone they don’t even know.

And before you even think of accusing me of publicising about other people’s life on Facebook, do me a HUGE favour and go to my profile and SEE if your allegations have some merit. I am borderline narcissistic and all you will see on my profile is about ME. So the next time you tell me something about yourself, just think a few times before telling me to refrain from posting it on Facebook unless you want to get punched in the face. A lot. Better yet, dont tell me at all. I might not be missing out on much.

Good night! And sweet dreams.

P.S. Most of what I have written is exaggerated and in jest but it’s all true. These things are annoying. But I haven’t written this with the intention of attacking someone in particular, it’s something I’ve experienced over a period of time and know it annoys a lot of other people too, so I thought I’d share it. If you fall in any of the above categories and what I have written hurts your sentiments, I don’t know what to say to you. Feel free to do as you please. I am looking forward to a much lesser number of friends after this. Currently it stands at 847. Let’s see what the number is after this post goes live and a few people have had the honour to read it. ;)


  1. You are amazing ! whatever you have written is absolutely true .. specially the tagging and unfriending part .
    Honestly people have to grow up by there brains not age !

  2. lol! i love this.
    i also wrote about facebook ethics a few months back. and i would say i'm not the only one who have issues on people on facebook.

    keep writing. your blog is fun to read.

    1. Thanks Janjan!!! I'm glad you enjoyed it.. It would be great if you could share the link to your post. Would love to read it.. :)


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