Etiquette should extend to Internet
Social media dominates almost every element of communication for our generation. It is even acceptable to use some names as verbs in colloquial speech: âInstagram that view, bro,â or âNice to meet you, Facebook me later!â are phrases often overheard on a college campus.
The presence of social media is nothing new but, if used correctly, it could be one of the greatest inventions of man. Move over, sliced bread.
In the everyday life of a college student, logging on to Facebook is as common an occurrence as going to class or checking email. Itâs necessary. How else do we stay updated on when thereâs an earthquake, the latest Internet sensations and what everyone is having for lunch?
This brings me to my point, however: Are we using Facebook correctly? If thereâs such a thing as dining etiquette and library etiquette, why isnât there Facebook etiquette?
Though placing so much significance on a social media website might seem pointless â itâs just Facebook, after all, not the next great American novel â the large role that social media, especially Facebook, now plays in our lives should be taken into consideration.
Since it is such a popular tool, used and analyzed by us every day, it should be utilized to its utmost capacity. Rather than scrolling past useless photos of someoneâs food, itâs a nice change when someone posts a thought-provoking article or a socially-aware music video. Thereâs so much potential in a website offering the opportunity to endlessly share and observe, so why donât we embrace it in a more meaningful manner?
Before you post that status update, do us all a favor and spell check your writing. Proper grammar and correct spelling go a long way, especially for a university student. Likewise, ask yourself whether youâre actually saying something of importance.
Even if a status is âwhatâs on your mind,â resist writing passive-aggressive statuses, or ones complaining about overly personal problems. Nobody likes a self-righteous status merely seeking validation. It would be also nice if more Facebook users refrained from sharing uninformed political opinions or unsolicited religious advice.
Facebook can be a treacherous digital frontier. Many innocent users have signed on to their profiles to see that their walls have been covered with spam attacks. Private messaging exists for a reason, so donât be afraid to use it.
Donât get me wrong. A cleverly written status about nothing in particular can be pretty entertaining. But if weâre going to be honest, not everyone is clever enough to pull these off. If you find yourself doubting whether more than two people will like what you have to say, reconsider.
Speaking of âlikes,â the process of hitting a miniature thumbs up is a ridiculously ambiguous action. What does it mean? Are you supporting what Iâve written, or was that a facetious click? Clicking a button rather than articulating in words how we feel removes us from the subject and invalidates our opinion. Try to refrain from mindlessly âlikingâ the first photo that pops up on your news feed. Instead, carefully consider how you feel about a personâs post and try to express that feeling in words. If this seems like too much, then âlikeâ sparingly.
At this point in our lives, it is unnecessary to announce to the digital world that youâre in a relationship only to change back to single within a month or two. This is college, we get it; people date, they break up and they move on. Facebook is not the place to give a play by play of your romantic life, otherwise it would be called Datebook. Unless youâre engaged, married or truly committed, hold off on the Facebook romance.
One of the strangest aspects of modern social interaction, thanks to Facebook, is that we can recognize people weâve never actually met in person before. This happens more than most people would care to admit, especially within such a well-connected community like USC. We shake hands with someone at a party who shares so many mutual friendsÂ that theyâre inevitably a presence in our news feed, but we hesitate to acknowledge we know of them at the risk of sounding creepy.
If everyone experiences and partakes in this âcreepyâ behavior, however, we should acknowledge it rather than hide it. Who knows, admitting you know something about someone could actually spark a connection, and you could make yourself a new friendÂ â or more.
We constantly chastise others for âstalking,â yet everyone knows that this is an integral part of using Facebook. To deny that you havenât meticulously looked through someoneâs profile pictures to understand their personality would be a lie. Eveyone does it. On the other hand, we also canât expect to understand everything about a person based on the way his or her profile looks. You canât judge a book by its cover, so why judge a Facebook user by his or her cover photo?
If thereâs anything to take away from this article, itâs that Facebook has the potential to be a valuable socializing tool, if people would learn to use it more wisely. Donât be afraid to send a friend request if you just met someone. And donât wish me a happy birthday on my wall unless you sincerely mean it.
Nick Cimarusti is a junior majoring in English and Spanish. His column âGet Schooledâ runs Mondays.