January 31st, 2010

Five Facebook Etiquette Tips

by Jacqueline Whitmore

By Guest Blogger, Jorie Scholnik

facebook logoThe days of Facebook just being a college networking site are long gone. Facebook has more than 350 million active users, with more than two-thirds of these users being outside of the college age group. According to Facebook, the fastest growing demographic are people 35 years of age and older, which means that there is a large chance that your boss, clients and co-workers are active users as well.

So what if your co-worker wants to add you as a friend? Should you mix your professional life with your personal life? With Facebook having such a large role in the business arena these days, it brings about a whole new set of social networking dos and don’ts. Here are a few to consider.

  1. Don’t be offended if someone does not respond to a friend request. A lot of people try to limit their Facebook friends to only those in their personal life. Also, some people may only use Facebook for specific purposes like finding local events in the area or staying in touch with long distance friends and relatives.
  2. Customize your privacy settings. As a Facebook user, you can tailor your privacy settings for persons on your friend list. Therefore, if you don’t want your boss to see pictures of you outside of the work setting or you don’t want an old flame to see who you are dating, you can block that information from them.
  3. Be careful what you post on Facebook. You should only include information on your profile that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of a newspaper. Once something is posted and written in words, people can save it or send it to others over the Internet. Therefore, avoid posting rants about your boss or racy photos of yourself or others.
  4. Remove a friend as a last resort. People can get offended and/or hurt when they notice that they’re missing from your friend list. Try to increase your privacy settings before eliminating a person completely, especially if you share common friends or if you run the risk of running into each other in public.
  5. People will form their opinions and judgments about you from the information on your profile. While everyone understands that you have a personal life (and a sense of humor), what may be funny on a Saturday night may not be appropriate to display to your co-workers who have a different perception of you at work.

Jorie Scholnik is currently pursuing her masters degree at the University of Florida. She has interned seasonally at The Protocol School of Palm Beach since June 2006. She is one of the 350 million active users of Facebook and has encountered multiple examples of employers and universities checking students’ profiles.

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