Using Facebook etiquette will help you use a fantastic tool to your advantage. This tool is so powerful and fun, it will help you leverage the power of the Internet to influence large groups of people.
We are going to assume that you know what Facebook is or else you wouldn't be looking for information on how to take advantage of this tool.
My wife and I really enjoy Facebook, but we use it for different purposes. I mainly use Facebook to maintain contact with business associates. My wife mainly uses it to stay in touch with her friends and family. Which brings up an important point on Facebook manners...
The rules that you use to govern your etiquette on Facebook will change depending on how you are using it. If you are using it for networking, the things you do on Facebook will be different than if you if you using it for personal use.
Let's get to it!
Avoid senseless status updates - This is one of my pet peeves. I will hide people that senselessly update their status. Some of the ones that I quickly hide are people that post updates from all of the games that they play. I view that as clutter and I do not need the clutter on my page.
If people start to hide you, then you will have no opportunity to say anything meaningful when you need to. Keep the status updates with things that people want to see.
Avoid "over-friending" - Sure there is nothing wrong with people you know. However, when you start friending friends of your friends (assuming you do not know them) it becomes too much. You will end up offending some people because they will view it as cyber stalking. It is not good Facebook etiquette.
If you want to increase the people you can reach, there are a lot of groups you can join that will allow you to communicate with larger groups of people without offending others. Use groups instead of over-friending.
Know the difference between posting on someone's wall and sending a message - I have seen many people that post something on someone's wall that contained private information. This type of post belongs in a message instead.
A post on someone's wall will allow anyone who visits that person's profile to see what was posted. When you send a message, it is a private message that only that person can see.
There is nothing like secrets (that should stay a secret) being posted on someone's wall. This is a real quick way to lose friends online and in real life. Use the 'golden rule' by doing unto others as you would have done to you... say unto others as you would have said unto you.
Complaining - Lets face it....everyone gets frustrated with life at times. However, most people do not want to see you complaining. When people continually complain on Facebook, I add them to my hidden list. I want to be associated with people that are positive and helpful.
When I see people that complain, I either view them as negative or needy. In either case, that is not how you want people to view you. This site is dedicated to showing you how to use manners (or in this case, Facebook etiquette) to influence people in a positive way. Facebook is a great tool for that, but it will work against you if you are complaining all the time.
Taboo topics - There are certain topics that people get passionate about that offend others. A couple of examples would be religion and politics. I have several friends on Facebook that constantly post about their views on politics and religion. In most cases, it starts up an argument between them and their other friends. Yep, you guessed it. I click on the hide button.
If you want to discuss these kinds of topics, you have two options: 1. Do it in private so that others who are not interested do not need to be offended or 2. Save this kind of discussion for groups set up for that purpose.
Avoid using Facebook at work - What you do during business hours is your job. No matter how bored you get, use your business etiquette and avoid wasting time Facebooking. There may be time when it is business related, however it is not to update your status or play games, this is not good etiquette in business.
Hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of Facebook. When you demonstrate proper Facebook etiquette, you can harness the power of this tool.