Etiquette in the Age of Social Media

But first, let me take a selfie!! Sharing what you are doing, when you are doing it and who you are with is all the rage on social media these days. And not just for the millennials. Everyone is on Facebook, young and old alike, myself included. Sometimes I ask myself though, how much sharing is too much?

We all have that friend on Facebook, you know who I am talking about. The one who shares TOO much. They are constantly posting what they are doing throughout the day – what time they got up, what they had for breakfast, checking in at a new restaurant they are trying out for lunch *selfie included*, how sick they got after having lunch at said restaurant, etc. TMI runs rampant and it is hard to know what to do with these “friends”.

In this age of oversharing, what is the proper etiquette here? It is hard to know. For the most part your Facebook “friends” are not people that you are seeing on a daily basis. They are people you have met along the way at some point in your life – grammar school, high school, college, old job, vacation, friend of a friend of a friend. When I look through my friend list, I see people sometimes and I have to stop to think, how do I know this person? Is there a point at which they should be unfriended if I don’t like what they are posting on their Facebook feed? I usually solve this problem by hiding their posts. But what if it’s the opposite? What if it’s one of your closest friends who is posting consistently, to the point where you know so much about their day from your Facebook feed that you don’t really need to talk to them in person. If you end up hiding their posts they are going to find out sooner or later, when they ask your opinion on a comment on one of their postings or why you never “like” what they are doing. It is a double edged sword either way.

Or maybe YOU are the one who is unfriended. What? Who would unfriend me right? I have actually had that happen to me. Not by anyone who I was close enough with to notice right away but there was one lately that I found particularly funny. I was friends with an acquaintance from college who was also friends with my husband and another good friend. This person was constantly posting about her day, her opinion, anything under the sun –and if you didn’t agree with what she said she was not afraid to come down on you. I commented one day how she hadn’t been posting anything lately and I noticed she wasn’t on my friend list anymore so she must have quit Facebook. My husband and friend both looked at me and said, no, she is definitely still there, we see her posts all the time. So this person had unfriended me, but nobody else. We all had a good laugh over it and it is not something that keeps me up at night. I just wonder what the criteria was for deciding to “keep” or “unfriend”.

At one point a few years ago I decided that I was going to take a break from Facebook, I had had enough of it for a while and it was using up a lot of my spare time. I deleted the app from my phone and iPad and went about my business. The first week was difficult, as I was afraid I might be missing out on something or other, but by the second week I was over it. I had a lot more free time and wasn’t being bogged down by other people’s useless information. I did end up getting back online after a few months as I do enjoy interacting with my true friends and social circle. It was a good experience though and one I am thinking about trying again soon.

All in all, I try not to overshare too much on Facebook myself and only post a few times a month, if that. If other people hide my posts I guess I will never know. And that’s fine with me. They will be missing out on all my selfies though!

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