Mind Your Social Media Manners: the Facebook Status Update

Facebook rulesFACT: Facebook distresses me.  In particular, the STATUS UPDATE.

I think I’m hardly alone in feeling this way; there’s something innately stressful about navigating a ginormous mashup of people including but not limited to: new friends, old friends, coworkers, acquaintances, maybe an ex, sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins, Democrats, Republicans, Couldn’t-Care-Less-icans, Christians, Atheists, single folk, married folk, divorced folk, church folk, gun-toters, hippies, hipsters, and, JUST FOR FUN, a significant other.

It’s a wonder any of us ever manage to post anything.

Some will argue that Facebook is a free forum, that no one is forced to be there, so GET OVER IT and let people post what they want. This is the “it’s a free country” argument. These people have a point, and I’d like to agree with them.

The thing is, though, SO many people are on Facebook (see my above list) that if you choose to participate, you better put your best foot forward. Everyone’s watching.

With people spending so much time online – and connecting with each other that way (and in many cases, ONLY that way) – your Facebook persona becomes more than that; it becomes YOU.

So with that said, we’re going to start our series on social media etiquette with a look at the FACEBOOK STATUS UPDATE, possibly the “heart” of all social media. While the Arizona State University scientists came up with their 36 Facebook rules to live by, we at the TKGenius Blog wanted to put together our own lists of Pet Peeves, Don’t Do These Things EVER, and Do These Things & Live Happily Ever After.

I reached out to my wonderful coworkers to see what they had to say about Facebook status updates, and holy mackerel (yes I just used the word mackerel) did I get a response! We’ve come up with quite the list.


  1. Our top Facebook pet peeve is VAGUEBOOKING. This is a status update that goes something like this: “I knew this would happen.” What would happen? Did you burn a piece of toast again? Did you gain a few pounds from overeating? Did your husband cheat on you? We have no gauge of “severity” from your status, and frankly, we’re a little scared to ask in the comments. Vaguebooking is bad enough, but what’s worse is when someone DOES inquire in the comments and the poster doesn’t respond. It feels like the ultimate attention-seeking ploy.
  2. Similar to the vaguebooker is the RANDOM SONG LYRICS POSTER. Please don’t do this, especially without a link to the song. Song lyrics, especially depressing ones, come across as a cry for help, attention, and maybe some meds. Also, no one cares about these updates except you. If there’s a song or song lyrics you like, by all means post it, with a link to the song. Just don’t do this frequently.
  3. Another un-favorite is the person who uses Facebook in lieu of therapy. Characterized by wild MOOD SWINGS, one minute life is great, the next they’re in a deep depression. This person should pick up the phone and talk to someone instead of using Facebook for free therapy.
  4. Of course, we all have a CHRONIC COMPLAINER / DEBBIE DOWNER in our feed. This person has nothing positive to say and uses Facebook to bring everyone down. The stuff the rest of us are somehow able to take in stride, this person feels compelled to whine about on Facebook. This person ends up looking pathetic, and leaves commenters wondering how to respond.
  5. OK, gotta admit, I love me some Instagrammed food shots (sorry everyone!), but survey says: DON’T POST WHAT YOU HAD FOR DINNER. I’m going to go rogue here and say that I think this one just depends: if it’s an amazing dinner, beautiful dessert, something out of the ordinary, go ahead and post it.
  6. The CHAIN LETTER POSTER doesn’t go over too well with us either. You know, the person who posts statuses that compel you to repost their post on Saving Endangered Squirrels or they’ll “know where you stand.” Don’t use Facebook as a guilt trip; not everyone shares the same causes as you.
  7. And finally, there’s the OVERSHARER. This person ranges from entertaining to annoying. A couple of our favorite real-life examples include: “Man, I ate something for dinner that’s not agreeing with me,” and “Tom’s getting the big V today. No more kids for us, snip-snip!” Please. No. Stop.


First up is our list of DON’T DO THESE THINGS EVER. This is a collection of all of our posting rules, and a good status update should meet the following (I can personally weed out a “bad” status in my head in about 1.8 seconds):

  1. Don’t say anything that could jeopardize your job/career.
  2. Don’t say anything that could jeopardize relationships with close family and friends.
  3. Don’t be overly political. You’ll just get blocked.
  4. Don’t brag about the kids (except every so often).
  5. Don’t rip on the kids (except every so often).
  6. Don’t complain about your spouse/significant other.
  7. Don’t make it look like your life is perfect.
  8. Don’t make it look like your life is a trainwreck either.
  9. Don’t post that meme that so-and-so’s mom is also posting.
  10. Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Wah-Waahhhhh.
  11. Don’t look like you could really use some meds. (See also: #8 and #10)
  12. Don’t vent, unless you can be funny about it.
  13. Don’t post solely for your own benefit (i.e., random song lyrics).
  14. Don’t air dirty laundry. (See also #6)
  15. Don’t embarrass another person.
  16. Don’t cause harm.
  17. Don’t look like an alcoholic.
  18. Don’t be passive-aggressive. Everyone knows what’s happening, and it makes you look pathetic.
  19. Don’t post bikini pics if you’re out of college, even if you think you’re smokin’. And limit the selfies, please.
  20. Don’t forget there’s this wonderful platform called Twitter, where status updates every 10 minutes are welcomed.
  21. Don’t use Facebook for free therapy. Go see a therapist and maybe get a prescription!
  22. Don’t “like” or “lol” your own status.
  23. Don’t put a whole blog post in your status update. Get a blog!
  24. Don’t go all TMI in your status update. Get a room!
  25. Don’t use hashtags on Facebook. There’s no character limit or searchable hashtags on Facebook. Go to Twitter!

And the DO’S (which are less fun and fewer):

  1. Do make funny observations.
  2. Do share interesting photos and videos.
  3. Do be timely.
  4. Do be witty. (See #1)
  5. Do be self-deprecating. No one likes a bragger.
  6. Do check-in and add context if you’re at a unique spot. Bonus points for a good photo. Unique spots do not include Walgreens or McDonald’s.
  7. Do use privacy settings or Facebook lists if you don’t want to abide by the above Don’ts. That way your boss or your grandma doesn’t have to see you three sheets to the wind.
  8. Do share interesting information. Not just your latest blog post, but real interesting information such as a great website or article.
  9. Do solicit Facebook for info and recommendations from time to time. It’s a community, after all.

Personally speaking, I cannot tell you how many possible Facebook statuses have ended up in what I call the Facebook Status Graveyard for not passing the above criteria. Wouldn’t it would be awesome to have a site just for Facebook statuses that didn’t make the cut? (Does that already exist? It should.)

In a Nutshell

Facebook, for better or, more often, worse, shapes part of who we are and the relationships we hold. And remember: all those Facebook friends you never see? The only way they SEE you is on Facebook. So watch your statuses. See? 🙂

Next week: Facebook Commenting. Yippee!

Photo: totalfratmove.com

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