I was in the middle of researching Facebook etiquette, after a kerfuffle with a FB friend, when apparently I breached it again.
Dang, it’s hard to get this social media stuff straight. It feels so anonymous, even when your name’s on it, so fleeting and knee-jerk, and often stream of consciousness. Even when you resist posting a rant of your own making, which I’m trying hard to stick to. Someone posts something and you retort or share, which opens up a can of worms — comments, misunderstandings, and usually results in apologies. That is, if you care about the people you may have offended.
There are FB friends, not that we can’t be close in online relationships. Then there are IRL friends and family members. FB makes it easier to discuss and argue than face-to-face, because we often write things we wouldn’t say in person. Just like in emails — whip something up, send, and then reflect back and wish we could undo.
While googling around, I learned that 32% of FB users have experienced what’s known as “poster’s remorse.” Here’s the survey report:
How different it was back in the day, when we handwrote letters, reviewed it, sometimes tore up and started over. Typing makes it faster and easier to blast off a missive. Even phone calls were more measured, thoughtful and personal. Not to mention that politics and religion were considered off-limits. Seems like all's fair in the electronic communications of today.
I found this from Hugo Schwyzer (blog: hugoschwyzer.net):
The challenge for those of us who use social networking sites to communicate our personal and political selves (for many of us, those are inextricably woven together) is finding ways to practice integrity and civility in our exchanges with those whom we disagree. In the case of Facebook, because we are interacting primarily with those whom we have chosen as our friends and colleagues, the stakes are much higher than they are on a more anonymous platform. Facebook allows us to discover which of our friends — often much to our astonishment — hold views we consider objectionable or bizarre. To some extent, it’s a regular exercise in cognitive dissonance, as we struggle to reconcile our fondness for a person with our horror at her or his views.
Among my circle of friends and family, I’m quite sure that at least 90 percent disagree with my political and religious views. I’m okay with that, and am never tempted to changing my opinions to match theirs. I’ve never made that important in my relationships. In fact, I recently lost a friend (who agreed with me for the most part) because of her intolerance for the views of another friend, to the point that she would not acknowledge (as in even say “hi”) when thrown into a social situation with her. I defended latter friend’s right to her views and refused to join former friend in cutting latter friend off because of them. I like/liked both of them. Former friend pushed and I said NO I will not do that.
I don’t consider that sort of intolerance in a person to be a huge loss. I haven’t missed her.
Of course, so far, none of my arguments have to do with adoption issues, opinions about the right or wrong of that institution, at least among my adoption-impacted friends. If it did encounter such a discussion, I would certainly stand firmer and get my hackles up big time to correct their misconceptions. Because of my experiences, THAT, and as a result, my belief in family preservation, as well as contraception, pro-choice, and women’s health, is unshakeable.
Most people are not even aware of adoption issues, the impact on mothers and children, that records are still sealed in most states, and potential adoptive parents are going overseas to find babies, so they won’t have to deal with open adoptions and pesky birthmothers. In terms of discussable issues, we are way behind gay rights. We are still invisible.
Finally, I want to provide some general FB rules of etiquette I found. For those who are interested, from PC World: Facebook Etiquette