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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Facebook Netiquette

    The social online forum has become a cornerstone of social interactions of all age groups (dauntingly enough, even for our parents) over the last couple of years. But the networking website has left next to no one untainted by its ways. Almost all people find themselves, at some point, reading other people’s walls, raiding others’ pictures and the associated comments.

    In a forum in which we are so prone to sometimes violating the privacy of others – assuming the pretense of privacy exists on Facebook — how do we prevent breaching the lines of proper etiquette? What follows are some of my suggestions of how to avoid becoming a ‘Facebook creeper.’

    If you find yourself prefacing a comment with, “I don’t mean to be a creepy Facebook stalker, but…” or “I noticed on my news feed that?” you’re probably being a creep. The best course of action would be to first acknowledge what a creeper you are, and then try to hide it. Don’t post the comment – just don’t do it.

    Being a self-professed Facebook fiend is fine, it happens to the best of us. But if you have a tendency to be online a lot, you may not want everyone to know about it. The new Facebook chat application lets other people know when you’re logged in, but you can set it to appear as away or offline. Just click on the little face image on the bottom right of the page and nobody will be any the wiser that you’re currently lurking through your friend’s cousin’s European roadtrip photos. By being unavailable to chat, you both avoid Facebook instant messages — which are almost as archaic as “aim” itself – while simultaneously hiding the fact that you spend your life on Facebook. Two birds. One stone. Aim carefully.

    If you leave a comment on someone’s wall once and they don’t reply, shame on them. Comment twice and they don’t reply, shame on them. Comment a third time and they still don’t reply, shame on you! That person probably thinks your creepy, so don’t be suprised if you get ‘de-friended.’

    The matter of friend requests is a very serious one. You may feel like you know someone because they associate with a mutual friend, and you’ve seen enough of their pictures tagged on a friend’s page or because you their profile picture is sexy. You may feel like you know someone because you’ve seen them around. Other instances of familiarity may include but are not limited to, having formerly been in the same vicinity as someone, being mother’s friend’s sister’s daughter. None of the above are excuses to friend request someone. If it seems like the person you have friend requested, will be unsure as to whether or not they know you, resist the temptation of preying on a new person to cyber stalk. Don’t be afraid to salvage your dignity.

    Don’t think everyone wants to know every detail about your life. Save your secret thoughts for you old livejournal account, people may actually read your Facebook notes, so try not to freak your friends out. Along those lines you don’t have to update your Facebook status more than twice a day – and even that’s pushing it. If anyone actually wanted to know about your daily itinerary, they would ask. If you think people care otherwise is creepy

    Of course, the majority of people on Facebook are non-creepers, unlike Myspace. This means, however, that the creepers are extra noticeable. Once others identify you as a facebook creeper, they probably won’t like you in real life either, so that makes it all the more important not to stand out. If you happen to be a creeper, the least you can do is take the above steps to obscure this fact.

    Happy networking!

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