Five Rules for Facebook
While I’ve never been reluctant to use the Interwebs for everything from employment to entertainment to education, I’ll admit that I was initially very slow when it came to adopting the use of social networking. I had a bunch of excuses, but the fact was that it just another area in my life where I was resisting being open and sharing. Once I pulled my head out of
my a…the sand and realized that I was missing a huge opportunity because of fear, I took the plunge and joined facebook.
Try not to judge too harshly, but I found those first few months of poking and posting to be kind of stupid. After sharing my pictures, playing the games, and trying the features, I realized that in order to use facebook in a way that would be representative of my life and values, while still being an effective tool for connecting and communicating with friends near and far, I was going to have to set a few ground-rules.
Now, obviously, these are my rules for using facebook. This is what I’ve come up with so far based on my experiences with social networking in general and facebook in specific. I’m not expecting everyone to adopt, or even respect them, but they work for me.
- Rule #1 – Friend People You’ve Actually Met. Currently, around 98% of the people I’ve friended on facebook are individuals that I have spent face-to-face time with. Usually, that means more than 24 cumulative hours together at one time or another. If the current trend continues, that percentage will only go up, because exceptions to this rule are very rare and special, or they’ve been grandfathered in since it’s been enacted. Before I call you friend online, I want you to be one in real life.
- Rule #2 – Don’t Friend the Opposite Sex Lightly. As a general rule, I don’t initiate online connections with single women or the wives of other men. If I do, I’m being intentional as to why I’m making the connection, and my wife knows about it ahead of time. If a woman tries to friend me on facebook, I make my wife aware of it and she has veto power over my friend list (which she hardly ever uses). Giving my wife that much access has built trust, and helped me to avoid future issues with impropriety.
- Rule #3 – Don’t Play Games. Facebook is already a drain on my productivity. I will not make it worse by farming for virtual crops or building virtual homes. Apart from an occasional evening on an MMO, playing games is something I do face-to-face with my family or with friends. Note: When I receive a game request on facebook, I actually do click it. Once I can navigate to the game’s application page, I can block it, and I never have to see it again. So, keep sending those requests.
- Rule #4 – Ignore Chain Posts. At least twice a day, some picture or post will pop up in my facebook feed that all but commands me to like it or share it if I agree with the sentiment (i.e. “Share this if you have the best daughter in the world!”, or whatever.). No, thank you. I think my faith, ideology, family and life all deserve more thought and depth, and if I share something about any of those it will be crafted by me. (Unless I find it incredibly inspiring…or very, very clever and funny. Anyway, moving on…)
- Rule #5 – Share With Care. I always try to be honest and real when I write something on the Interwebs, whether it’s here at ABiM for the entire world to see, or if it’s just to my friends on facebook. However, my good judgement only extends so far. So, I try to run everything I post or share through a few extra filters before it goes public.
– Would I hang this on my office wall at home? Where the kids can see or read it?
– Could I hang it at work? Would it reflect well on my career?
– Would my wife approve of it? (I’ve asked her directly, at times.)
– Would my Mom approve of it? (That’s actually a really bad filter, though.)
There have been times each of those filters have kept me from posting something questionable. Especially my wife. (She kept me from goring a particular sacred cow on facebook last year, and I thank her for it.) Of course, there have also been times when all of those filters have said “Don’t!” and I decided I needed to do it anyway.
And those are my core rules when it comes to facebook. (There are one or two other cursory rules that I use, but they’re conditional and not important here.) Obviously, each social networking option has different hurdles and struggles. Some of these rules aren’t applicable to twitter, for example, and even Google+ doesn’t quite work the same. It’s important, though, to always set some guidelines. You have a family, career and future to watch over.
What rules do you follow when you’re online? Which social networks do you use, and how do you use them?
[Image Credit, slightly modified]
December 3, 2012 - Posted by Jonathan Bodey | Marriage and Family, Past and Future | Facebook, family, friends, guidelines, hiding, honesty, isolation, protecting what's important, rules, social networking, wasting time, women
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