“No, I don’t want to play a game!”
How many times have you thought that — or even updated your status to say that — when you scroll through your Facebook notifications? Or maybe you’ve rolled your eyes at yet another pregnancy or baby update from your friend who’s a new parent, or wondered if your uncle has any opinions of his own, given that everything he posts is a link to another pundit’s point of view on a certain issue.
We all have Facebook pet peeves. According to some surveys, “vaguebooking,” or posting a deliberately cryptic status update in a ploy for attention, is the most annoying Facebook behavior, followed by disgusting or inappropriate pictures and endless requests to play games. However, there are other behaviors that other Facebook users find irritating —and some of these behaviors are annoying enough to get you hidden from newsfeeds, unfriended or blocked. Some of these habits are subtle, and you may not realize that you do them. But being aware of them, and avoiding them, will help keep your Facebook friends list, well, friendly, and help you have better relationships online.
Same Old, Same Old
No one likes to be bored. Yet when you make the same types of posts every time, you’ll eventually bore your friends. The key to social media success is being authentic and letting your true personality shine through, but when everything you write on Facebook is sad, your friends might wonder if you need therapy. It’s not just Debbie Downer that wears thin on people, either. If every status update is waxing poetic about how wonderful everything in your life is, or an attempt to be comical, your friends will grow weary. Try to vary the tone of your posts and stay honest and authentic, just like you do in real life.
Tag, You’re It!
You’re at a friends’ party and upload some photos, tagging others. But stop — did you ask them first? Because most people have a mixture of personal and professional connections on Facebook, not everyone wants the photographic evidence of their wild Friday night posted for the world to see. Or they may not want their boss to know that they were in Las Vegas on Friday afternoon when they were supposed to be home with the flu. Before you tag anyone in anything, whether a photo, status update or check-in, ask them if it’s okay.
Facebook is Not Twitter
While Facebook and Twitter share some similarities, they are not the same. If you have your Twitter account set up to send all of your tweets to Facebook, consider disabling that feature. How you communicate with others on each site is very different, and when your status update is a response to another tweet, you’ll just confuse your Facebook followers. If you come up with a brilliant 140-character bons mot on Twitter, by all means share that with your Facebook friends too — but don’t share everything everywhere.
Liking Bad News
When a friend announces bad new — a lost job, a death in the family, a personal disappointment — it seems like it would only be common sense that you would not use the “like” button. And yet, every day, Facebook users “like” bad news. Perhaps it’s due to the lack of a “thumbs down” or “dislike” option, or perhaps it’s just that they don’t know what to say, but regardless, liking bad news comes across as cold and callous. If you are friends with someone, you should be able to respond to their bad news with a comment — even just a simple “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Excessive Linking to Other Sites
The pictures of your lunch you post to Instagram. The great ideas for holiday decorations you found on Pinterest. The songs you listen to on Pandora. If everything that appears on your page is a link to another social media site, you have a good chance of annoying your friends. It’s fine to share something once in a while, but if someone wants to see every picture you take with Instagram they will follow you there. Try to keep your feeds as separate as possible, overlapping only when appropriate. It will help you keep everything more organized as well.
While none of these habits is particularly offensive, they can be annoying and alienate your friends. Take a moment to review your own timeline to see if you inadvertently do any of this, and if so, take steps to fix it. Your friends will thank you.