Avoiding the Facebook Faux Pas
This afternoon, at the first annual TBBMG “Kick Off the Summer” cookout, the group discussion turned to the topic of social networking—its pervasiveness, usefulness, and pitfalls. As we savored the baked beans and potato salad, we swapped stories of our facebook experiences. Many of those stories revolve around our pet peeves.
Social networking is a great tool, especially for self-published authors. But not everyone uses it well. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s focus on facebook, which is free (for now) and has attracted millions of users. Here are a few suggestions for getting the most out of your facebook friendships:
- For most of us, facebook draws all the separate areas of our lives—home, work, friendship, family—into one big circle. Keep this in mind when you post personal information, especially pictures. Always be mindful of who may be watching. Those hilarious pictures you took while you were “building your testimony” in college might not serve you so well in the present.
- Certain facebook applications are guaranteed to turn off a majority of your potential network. Resist the urge to hit people with a virtual pillow or to “find out what color sharpie you are”. If you simply must know what kind of sharpie you are, go ahead and take the quiz, just don’t publish the results on everyone’s page.
- Skip “the poke” altogether.
- Update your status from time to time, but not all the time. Endless status updates might give the impression that you’re not doing much with your time. Trust us on this. Even your closest friends may not really want to know which brand of cereal you ate this morning. In fact, your facebook friends may begin thinking of you as a bit of a nuisance. This is the last thing you want. Annoyed people will block your content altogether. Or, *gasp*, you might even join the ranks of the “un-friended”!
And here are some things that you SHOULD do:
- Do link your blog to your Facebook page by using the NetworkedBlogs application. When you post a new blog entry, your feeds will come up on your page and your friends will be alerted. This is also a great way to attract more blog followers.
- Do make your status messages interactive from time to time. Ask a question that your friends can respond to in order to get conversations going. If it’s a topic that you discuss in your book, even better!
- Do work to build up your friend list. Did you know that you can import your email addresses from Outlook or web email servers in a few simple steps?
- Do respond to comments people are making on your wall posts to show that you are reading them.
Facebook is an ideal forum for authors to share their excitement and the latest information about their new books. Hopefully, these few points of etiquette will keep you from turning your facebook friends into facebook foes.