Facebook Faux Pas

by: hawkgrrrl

March 22, 2011

No doubt, Facebook has changed all our lives in making it easier to stay in touch with friends across distances and to reconnect with friends from different phases of our lives.  It has also created a subculture with its own code of behavior, social niceties and infractions.

Some unforeseen benefits to Facebook that you may have noticed:

  • You never have to attend another high school reunion.
  • You can secretly find out how fat/old/bald/divorced/incapable of grammatically correct status updates your exes are, thus eliminating any regrets or “what ifs.”
  • You can satisfy both your exhibitionist and voyeuristic tendencies all in one place.
  • You can experiment with being a farmer/fry cook/pirate/mafiosa/unicorn from the comfort of your living room.
  • You can find out what your kids are up to and who their friends are (if like me you require that they “friend” you).  Bonus:  you know which of your kid’s friends are potty mouths/partiers/promiscuous/potential Columbiners.
  • Easy access to the latest viral You Tube trend/Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert riff plus amusing commentary from your friends.
  • Birthday greetings out the yin-yang, even from people you friended without knowing who they were just to be polite.
  • Fakebook.

Some drawbacks I didn’t expect:

  • Annoying acquaintances selling stuff.
  • “Cause” spammers.
  • Ads that imply your target demographic is fat/bald/old/cellulite-laden, thus eroding your self-esteem.
  • The discomfort of reading someone’s too intimate/revealing/pathetic/mentally unstable status updates.
  • When worlds collide:  friends from different times or facets of your life all being in one place together.
  • When your clever, ingenious status update fails to generate any commentary.
  • Friend requests from people you neither want to offend nor accept.
  • People posting embarrassing pictures of you from bygone eras.
  • Realizing someone has de-friended you.

Which of these Facebook faux pas have you committed?

  • Facebook ho.  Willingness to friend just about anyone.  If you have over 500 friends and you’re not a celebrity, you might be a facebook ho.
  • Incessant Status Updates.  There’s a fine line between Facebook and the boring parts of reality TV.
  • Publishing Game Results.  Guess what – not even your mother gives a damn that you just harvested a bumper crop of superberries.
  • TMI.  If you’ve ever thought: “I wonder if this is too personal?” – it is.
  • Sympathy Seeking.  Comfort’s nice and all, but FB is a fairly public shoulder to cry on.
  • Stalking.  I guess it’s all fun and games until you get caught.
  • Mixing work with pleasure.  Facebook has become what the office party of the 1950s used to be, a potential career-ender masquerading as a good time.

Are there other Facebook faux pas that drive you crazy?  Which of these Facebook faux pas would cause you to unfriend someone?  Discuss.

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29 Responses to Facebook Faux Pas

  1. shenpa warrior on March 22, 2011 at 5:25 AM

    I don’t unfriend people (usually), but I would block them from showing up if they had too many of your “faux pas.” :)

    Also, I might be a facebook ho. I have 600 friends.

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  2. shenpa warrior on March 22, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    Or rather, I have 600 “friends.” Many of them are friends, some are still in the acquaintance stage. I’ve found that some of those acquaintances (certainly not all) become friends however through online interaction.

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  3. Jeff Spector on March 22, 2011 at 6:20 AM

    Awesome, 100% right on. Some seem to live their lives and every waking moment on FB.

    C’mon, people get a real life. Like us bloggers.

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  4. Dan on March 22, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    I’ve got 612 friends currently on facebook. About 30 of them I have never met in real life (including Jeff in comment #3 :) ). The rest that I haven’t met are cousins from Romania who I’m getting to know where I would not otherwise get to know them. Currently I have about 20 cousins on facebook (and I think I may have about 40 or so total cousins back in Romania). I’ll take Facebook’s pros over its cons. To me, connecting with relatives from Romania is invaluable. It makes for future trips back to Romania all the better.

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  5. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 22, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    On the other hand, when something happens, if you facebook about it, people don’t feel a need to bother you in person.

    So, last week, my daughter Rachel fell off a cliff, fractured L1 and L2 vertebrae, massive contusions to her lungs and a fractured heel.

    A little note or two on facebook and people went there instead of directly to me. That created a lot of space.

    Otherwise, I figure thirty minutes a week is more than enough time for facebook on a busy week, less on a normal week.

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  6. Bored in Vernal on March 22, 2011 at 6:44 AM

    I have 600 friends, too. But since I am a celebrity that makes it OK. And I consider them all real friends. (I just haven’t met you yet..)

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  7. Henry on March 22, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    Rules of Facebook.
    1. Never post anything work related.
    2. Do not post anything negative about anyone no matter how angry you are.
    3. Do not friend management at your work.

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  8. Henry on March 22, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    4. Do not take it personal if someone does not accept your friend request and if yours is not accepted. No biggie. Move on.
    5. If you have to unfriend someone or if someone unfriends you, no biggie. Do it and move on.

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  9. PaulM on March 22, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    My policy is no more than 100 friends at any given time. Now when I get a request if I want to accept it I have to remove someone else. Frankly, I don’t have time to follow more than that.

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  10. Childe Jake on March 22, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    I know I’ve been guilty of the “cause” spamming at times. BUT. My biggest annoyance are the deliberately ambiguous status updates people post. These involve couching a real delimma in hopelessly cryptic language on purpose. For example, a status update might say: “Last time I ever travel up that creek without a paddle.” The person posting the above is essentially begging friends to pry so they can score the pleasure of knowing someone is concerned.

    That being said, I’ll freely admit that most of my status updates are equally blatant attempts to get attention and/or evangelize on behalf of my notions. But I do make it a point to be clear and provide context.

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  11. Jacob S on March 22, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    This is funny timing because today is my birthday and even though I hardly ever use my facebook account the obligatory “happy birthdays” are rolling in. Is it appropriate to send each person an individual thank you, or will one blanket one at the end of the day suffice?

    Also, I agree with the other Jake that I hate people who purposefully post cryptic messages just begging people to ask them what they mean. This is the same type of, say, co-worker that will come up to you and say something like, “Well, that was crazy,” and just look at you until you ask them what the crap they are talking about. If you want to say something, say it.

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  12. xenologue on March 22, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Childe Jake:

    I believe what you’re describing is referred to as “vaguebooking”.

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  13. salt h2o on March 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Facebook has created generation overshare.

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  14. B.Russ on March 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    10 – One of the most oft’-commenting friends of mine knows no other comment than the cryptic-comment. I don’t care enough to pry. Sometimes I think I should just un-friend her, even though she actually is a friend and not just a “friend”.

    I’d probably put it as the top FB Faux-pas IMO.

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  15. B.Russ on March 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Another big faux-pas:

    Posting pictures of your baby/kids instead of yourself as your profile pic.

    I once mentioned how this made me feel like a pedophile (being friends with so many babies), and went on a rant. My friend count went down pretty quickly after that.

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  16. Keri Brooks on March 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    Two more:

    Joint Facebook accounts. (John&Emily Smith) Facebook accounts are free. Get your own! I hate having to wonder who posted the status update.

    Not identifying your former name. I’ll get friend requests from someone like “Emily Smith”. I’ll rack my brain to figure out who this person might be. Turns out I knew her many years ago, prior to her marriage, as “Emily Jones”. If you’ve changed your name since I knew you, and you friend me, send me a message telling me what your name used to be.

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  17. ssj on March 23, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    I have been a member since 2004 when it was exclusively for college students. Is it weird that I feel kind of special because of that?

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  18. annegb on March 23, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    I don’t know what you’d call it, but staying on facebook when you really hate it–which I do. I’ve had not 1, not 2, but 3!!!! relatives tell me off on facebook! I’m mentally ill for not dropping off there.

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  19. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on March 24, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    I don’t really take Facebook seriously… I make up people sometimes on there…. I’ve got a German guy that builds submarines, an MMMA guy with a terrible record named Skippy Ferguson a Japanese guy and a transvestite African guy that looks like Ru Paul kinda.. they’ve got lots of friends

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  20. Heather on March 25, 2011 at 6:45 AM

    hawkgrrrl, this is hilarious! I’m hiding my head in shame re: too many status updates.

    I’m also wondering whether it’s ONLY LDS couples who do the joint FB account thing. Has anyone seen any non-Mormon couples do this?

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  21. hawkgrrrl on March 25, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    Jacob S – I think a group “thanks” is OK. C’mon, it’s your birthday! You should be out having fun, not spending all day thanking everyone individually.

    Heather – I don’t know if that’s an LDS thing or generational. I kind of think it’s people who think they are just a little too old for FB. While none of my non-LDS friends do that, only ones who are older than me by at least a few years do that. Usually half of the couple is too curmudegeonly to commit to FB.

    One more faux pas I thought of after this:
    – posting “Jack Handy” esque sayings unironically, as a means to convey some sort of threadbare wisdom.

    A funny one that I thought of is when someone obviously takes over and posts a “fake” status update under someone else as a practical joke. Provided that update doesn’t cross any other social boundaries, some of those can be very funny.

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  22. Heather on March 25, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Weird, Ang. The people I know who have joint facebook accounts are my age (37) or younger.

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  23. Keri Brooks on March 25, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    The people I know with joint Facebook accounts are usually late teens/early 20’s, always LDS, and sound like TAMN.

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  24. hawkgrrrl on March 25, 2011 at 9:44 PM


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  25. hawkgrrrl on March 25, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Yeah, I don’t know any joint FBers in that younger demographic. Just know different sorts of people I guess.

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  26. T-NC on March 26, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Things I hate about fb : strangers friending me & people from my past who weren’t friends w/ me back then – why would you want to be friends w/ me now ? We still don’t have anything to say to each other. I also hate it when ppl turn fb into a testimony mtg ! Occasional churchy posts okay, but your testimony ? Really ? Argh.

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  27. shenpa warrior on March 26, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    I have to say one thing for the other side here… what often puzzles me are the complaints about other people’s status updates. If you really don’t want to read someone’s cryptic updates, you can block them and still be friends. They’ll never know. :)

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  28. kiley on March 26, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    It makes me laugh when I know more about my cousins, aunts, uncles and the goings-on in their lives than my mom does. I live 1700 miles away from them. She lives like 5…

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  29. hawkgrrrl on March 27, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    T-NC, that is an interesting one. There’s a girl from HS who friended me, and she threatened to beat me up every single day of 9th grade. I accepted her friend request anyway. There’s been enough karmic justice in the intervening years.

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