Facebook etiquette: viewers respond

March 12, 2009 7:50:12 AM PDT
It seems as though social networking sites have trumped emailing as the preferred means of communicating.

A Neilsen study finds 45 billion minutes were spent on blogs and social networking sites worldwide last year. Facebook's usage has skyrocketed 566-percent last year.

You may have noticed that the unspoken rules of the real world, don't necessarily apply when it comes to the cyber world and that's not exactly a good thing. We thought we'd explore the dos and don'ts of the growing social network site phenomenon.

At any given time millions of bloggers are on social networking sites, like Facebook, updating their "status", writing on a friend's wall or uploading dozens of applications.

It's become a world with little to no boundaries.

"I think people just think that anything goes."

One woman, who asked not to be identified, says she became a victim of personal attacks on her Facebook page.

"Taking out aggression from years past," she said. "I have family members on there and there are things that they don't need to see."

She has even gone as far as shutting down her wall posts to avoid unnecessary comments.

Adam Jackson is co-authoring a book on blogging etiquette. He says the cyber window into our lives is way too open.

"There's definitely some sad stories of people who have said too much in their status updates."

He says your social networking page should not be an open book. For example Steven wrote on my page that his "wall literally has been hijacked by friends bickering like little kids ..."

Adam says think before you post.

"I've noticed that a lot of people don't want to know everything," he said. "You don't want to post that you're using the bathroom."

Watch the content of your photos, you might think something that could be considered questionable is funny now but a future employer could see that down the line and possibly use it against you.

"The rule always applies in business and in personal profiles that keep it mother friendly and you'll be okay."

Adam also cautions against making certain life decisions public in the virtual world before you personally contact the people in your life those decisions may affect.

"You're breaking up with someone virtually and then calling them on the phone, they've already gotten an email saying this person is now single."

Keep in mind what people and your Facebook "friends" are doing with their pages. If it looks like they don't keep it updated regularly or their Facebook page is bare then sending unsolicited requests like "poking" or flare isn't a good idea.

Also just because you're friends with Bob who is friends with Sally doesn't necessarily mean Sally would be comfortable with you requesting her as a friend. So try not to assume other people want to be a part of your network.

To keep control of your profile, Facebook provides a number of privacy levels that allow varying access for your friends, their friends and strangers.

And remember, real life common sense should be applied virtually. Don't use obscene language, or make sarcastic comments. Avoid using social networking sites if you have been drinking, you might just say something you'll regret. And remember that cyber items live on, somewhere in cyberspace, even after you delete them.

Adam Jackson's book is scheduled to be released this summer. For more information about him and his project you can go to the following websites:

http://www.140characters.com/
http://adamjacksonlive.com/Welcome/Welcome.html
http://twitter.com/adamjackson
http://twitter.com/thebook

VIEWER RESPONSES TO STORY:

Megan
Hey Erin, I watched the facebook special last night, it was good. Take care.

Laura
Erin,I have 2 agree with everything u said in the FB special u did last night!

Terry
Hi Erin, Sorry I didn't make it in time to comment for the show but you hit the main points.

Steven
Great report about Facebook

Alan
Hi Erin: Thanks for friending me. I;m a big fan - you look great in HD! Been on FB for a month and having a good time reaching out to former classmates and others.

Harry
Keep up the good work, you're the best!

Nicole
Great report. I feel so old being on facebook for at least 4 years now.

Jessica
Great report! Glad everyone could help out

Donna
watched your episode about fb....I love that I have been able to contact old friends, no need to post everything about your life on there to the world..........love ABC news keep up the great work

Ellen
I really liked your piece on this subject....I am new to FB and am amazed at what some people post! Thanks!

Aaliyah
Hi Erin. I was watching your report on Facebook etiquette, and thought it was really great. I always keep up with your right now on the net reports and I think that your report is important especially for younger users who don't always use the best judgement when posting material on their page. Again, I want to thank you for the report and hope that the station can air it in another broadcast during the day, so that those who don't or can't stay up late and enjoy it as well. Sometimes, we don't know that our actions are offensive unless someone tells us.

Dennis
Hey great piece on facebook on the news I did learn some valuable stuff

Michael
Erin, Good story. You're right. The bottom line should be to use common sense when visiting any social website. I always tell Judy to be careful and to exercise prudence because things can get blown out of proportion very easily in this day and age.

Michael
That was also great advice.

Carole
Thanks for all the good advice,Erin!

Bill
Hey,...the report was really put together well...nice job !

Dawn
Great report I DVRed because I have a 4 year old that likes to stay up late watching Spongebob:)

Renee
Hi Erin, GREAT story on last night, I wish I would have seen your postings b/c I think I've may have seen the best or should I say WORST so far...I have a friend from high school that put how much money she was getting back for income tax b/c she has so many kids, and another posting the progress on her divorce! Is anything private thesedays? Anyway, great storyline last night, I think we should enforce it alittle more. I think I may make that my status for the day!

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