Lately, Facebook has been driving me nuts. I decided to take a moment and post my thoughts on some good rules to follow when you're using Facebook.
Especially if you are using it as a public figure, like an author, actress, etc.
First off, I've seen so many people posting big long privacy notices in an attempt to keep their pictures and their information private. Here's a little internet tip: Once you post something on the Internet, it's no longer private. Even if you delete it, it's never really gone. It's out there... somewhere. That's why, if you really don't want the whole entire world to see that picture of you from Friday night's excess... don't post it.
And in that theme, be careful what you say. Often times we spout off in the heat of the moment, but those moments can be really hard to take back. Someone may have copied and pasted, quoted, or otherwise used your words. So watch em.
In particular, hot button issues like politics and religion. Posting endless streams of propaganda against a political opponent is annoying, offensive, and oftentimes just plain incorrect. It's my personal opinion the FB is not really the right forum for this. There's enough spin on the news networks without adding it to FB. In particular, with elections coming up. A sure way to alienate friends. I will admit to unfriending more than one person after 20 daily political status updates.
FB can be a powerful marketing tool. That being said, it is not our personal infomercial. If you treat it as such, what are people going to do? Same thing we do with real commercials, change the channel. Use self promotion sparingly, like a garnish as opposed to the main dish.
A personal pet peeve of mine? Telling everyone how great you are. In every post. How your own book makes you crack up. Or cry. Or even worse... Regularly quoting bits of fan mail that claim you're a better author than JK Rowling. If the work is good, it will stand for itself. You don't need to toot your own horn day and night. Your lips will get tired.
Be genuine. Be yourself. Be aware that other people having things to share too. Comment and participate in their lives as well. In the end, if you're dismayed about a post gone wrong, nobody liking your status, or feeling overwhelmed -- remember that's it's just Facebook. Not rocket science. In the end what matters most are things in your life that are offline. Your kids, spouse, family... You know, you're real life. ;)
PS. Emoticons are a necessary evil ;p