The rules of the road have changed. I’m not talking about I-95, I’m talking about the information highway; that vast infinity flooded with drunken texts and inappropriate emails from your co-workers, friends, and occasional weirdos. If Emily Post were alive today I’m sure she’d want to pull over and cry at how out of control we’ve become. It’s like we don’t understand or care about the rights and wrongs of the web. It’s high time we set some guidelines. More specifically, a Facebook RULEBOOK. Consider this my version of “Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teens.”
TIP BEFORE YOU TAG
I know it’s funny to look through old pictures and laugh. Remember when French cuffed jeans were cool? Or those Z Cavariccis you had to have? How about the hypercolor t-shirts or the tied-dyed-hippie-I-haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-days look? Yes, it’s funny. Yes, we should be able to look at those photos and laugh at ourselves right? WRONG. Posting naked/acne-faced/fat pictures of anyone online is not cool. EVER. We all went though an awkward phase and amazingly survived it. It was hard enough the first time. Please, don’t make me relive it again. In a perfect world you’d have to ask for permission to post (the “tip-off”). But since we live here on Earth, this simple rule applies: IF YOU WOULDN’T WANT A SIMILAR PICTURE POSTED OF YOU, DON’T POST IT. Period. It’s not cool and it WILL come back to haunt you.
UNFRIEND THE EX
Mr. X-bag and his new girlfriend look really happy. But do you really need to obsesses over pictures of them every time they eat a meal? Enough is enough. When a relationship ends it’s time to move on, that includes Facebook as well. A note to the ex’s out there: Keep your pictures/posts/cutesy notes under control . Don’t forget that just because you and the ex are no longer, it’s just not cool to offer a reminder of what once (or maybe never) was. It’s like stalking in reverse.
FRIEND OR FRENEMY?
One thing I love about “the book” is that everyone is on it. I’ve been put back in the loop with my entire life. It’s like the curtain call of my past. And that acne-covered fat kid who sat in the back of freshman English has turned into a hottie! Even better, that jerk who kissed and told in high school is a total loser. But while you might be pleasantly surprised that Joe Pimple wants to be your friend, he might not have forgotten about how you dissed him at the junior prom. While he most likely won’t seek some cyber revenge you never know. So hear me loud and clear: It is okay to block or ignore a friend request. I give you permission.
SIX DEGREES OF STALKER-ATION
I’m sure that you totally trust every one of your 975 friends. But keep this in mind: Friends can see friends of friends of friends of friends. While it’s really cool that you’ve got even more adoring fans than Miley Cyrus, opening yourself up to a huge network poses its own special problems. And not just for you. I recently got what I thought was a harmless request from this guy. Let’s call him Mike. Flashback to high school where crazy Mike stalked my best friend. All these years later this nut-job is still at it, trying to use me to get to her. Sorry buddy, you can’t pull the curtain over this kitty’s eyes. What do you do? When in doubt, just say no. When you deny a friend request they don’t get some message that says “yeah right” (although at times I wish it did). The end result: no harm no foul.
GOOGLE GONE WILD
You’ve been warned a million times but you’re still considering posting that picture from your cousin’s bachelorette party. Think again. Carefully. Better yet, why don’t you ring up your boss at 2 a.m. and see if they think it’s funny that you had a wardrobe malfunction at that frat bar? Wouldn’t grandma laugh at that the photo of you, face down with “Kick Me” written on your back in lipstick? Oh wait … that’s not who the picture is meant for? Well guess what? If you post it, they can see it. Forever . There is no delete in cyberspace folks. Don’t forget it.
Let me set the scene. You log in, and yippee … you have a new friend request from … Mom!?! Why the #$%^& is Mom on FB? Well, for those of you who’ve moved far from your home town or country, there’s no denying that the “book” is a great way to stay in touch with your family? But for the rest of us who still live close to home, or maybe even AT home, where your parents can actually see you everyday, it seems a bit unnecessary. Think carefully when choosing to accept your parents into your inner circle of friends. I know this sounds harsh and a lot of us may have a really hard time rejecting the woman or man that gave us life. But think about it. Do they really need to know Jenny from across the street who you grew up is playing for the other team? Especially, if she’s not out of the closet yet to her own family. If you decide to accept your parents, remind them about the Google Gone Wild clause. The boss doesn’t need to see those naked shots of you playing in the pool. So don’t even think about it Mom!
THANKS BUT NO THANKS
Be selective when sending invites and apps. I don’t need a cyber beer, bear, or birthday hug. I know I’m from New York, I don’t need the checklist. I’m sure the (Lil) Green Patch will save the world but please leave me out of it. And poking? That’s just weird. Shy away from giving or receiving those.
It’s ok to admit it. Everyone is addicted to Facebook. I’m constantly checking it at work, at home, wherever there’s free Wi-Fi. I even have status updates sent to my phone! If Jeff (you-know-who-you-are) is ever single again, I want to be the first in line! It’s crazy I know, but if you pass any desk in my office, 4 out of 5 people are on it. Bossman, don’t fire us. Its borderline addiction but there’s a reason why we can’t quit.