Facebook dos and don'ts

How to control your usage of the world's fastest growing site and avoid alienating friends and colleagues in the process.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 30, 2007

It's amazing to think that until last September, the likes of us ‘normal' users couldn't even get a Facebook (FB) account. It's true - it's only actually been one year since FB's developers moved the site from being a US university tool to a global social networking, messaging and application behemoth available to anyone with a net connection and time to spare.

Such has the impact been of the site that millions of users are now signed up and enjoying being able to hunt down friends from around the world in order to catch up, gossip, play games, share content and, in the case of one FB app, take Vampire-sized chunks out of each other.

But are these users all employing Facebook as well as they should? Are they managing to avoid annoying their friends, scaring strangers and making social mishaps a plenty? We're not too sure.

In fact, that's understating our viewpoint, as if our team's FB-using friends and families are anything to go by, there's huge room for improvement, whether this means not letting your FB addiction take over your life, or avoiding annoying fellow users with irrelevant and pointless communications.

That's why we put together this fun guide. We noticed friends getting out less and less, whilst updating their FB status every half an hour, and we were driven crazy but online mates nudging us, buying us drinks, and taking chunks out. To cut down the nonsense and help you reclaim a bit of your sanity, we've pooled our FB observations, annoyances and thoughts to offer what we hope is a bunch of helpful pointers for everyone, whether new to Facebook or confirmed addicts. Of course, you can agree or disagree with our recommendations, but only if you tell us why (we're on windows@itp.com).

Do: know your limit

If you're planning to allow work or school colleagues and acquaintances (ie not close friends) to link to you on FB, then DO make use of the site's Limited Profile' feature.

Say your boss has added you to his/her friends list for instance (we'll call him ‘D' for the sake of argument here). Whilst the chances are that you don't want to peeve D by ignoring his friend request, if you give D full access to your FB updates then he might soon work out - via your FB status for instance - that you're writing to your mum when you should be finishing that urgent report. Not good.

Accepting D as a friend but giving him access to only your Limited Profile however means that he'll only see a tailored, cut-down version of your online information. And in case you're wondering, when you set your boss up with your limited profile, he won't know this, which helps - so whether you add D as a ‘full' friend or a limited friend, only you will know.

Once you've added D as a friend, head to FB's Privacy page and click Limited Profile. Put D's name in the box to limit his viewing to what you want, then hit the Edit Settings link to determine this available information.

Don't: post a problem

Think before you type in order to avoid posting comments on other people's walls that might get them into trouble.

The crucial thing to remember here is that a statement or revelation that you think might be fine, might not be with your friend (or their girlfriend/wife/boss/mother), so err on the side of caution.

We know a user for example that posted what some would consider a fairly tame tease on a friend's wall and nearly ended that friend's relationship with their girlfriend.

Remember this - if you post on a friend's wall, all their pals and colleagues will be able to see what you've written. That's all of them! Therefore if you're writing anything personal or controversial, send this to them in a private message instead. And of course, don't respond to someone else's personal message to you by writing back on their wall!

Don't: outshine them

Avoid posting a FB picture of someone you're friends with looking like a complete monster just because you look ‘pretty cool' in it.

They won't like it, and rightly so, as by doing this you'll give a potentially huge number of people access to this frightful representation.
That said, if this pic is part of an album, then you're probably safe.

Posting such individual pics of bedraggled chums on Hot or Not is even worse: don't even dare...

3469 days ago
Steve

Here's another DON'T....DON'T delete games whenever someone starts out ahead of you. It's poor form and makes you look like an ass. I googled your name because I was surprised at your high rating and thought you might be some kind of Scrabble pro, but you're just a little baby who preys on retards.

3492 days ago
Galen Thurber

Do you have anything on the subject of facebook admins banning people AND banning the user from contacting @facebook.com ? rather slimy IMO

3550 days ago
Nadia Abdoun

I created a facebook group, call "Job Seekers", The main aim of this group is to share job opportunities in the world as general and special focus on Arab countries and Sudan. The group not only concern about finding the right job, it is also about education opportunities, volunteer jobs, training, so it is more about self improvement and better future. Here is the link of the group in the facebook(you need to be facebook user in order to join): http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12182500062 My target is to reach 1000 member by the end of 2007,as now i have 580+ member. Regards Nadia Abdoun

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