...please, think before you post
If there's one thing that boils my brain it's bad manners. I guess that's why I get overly excited any time I meet someone who says please and thank you.
Emily Post wrote her first etiquette book in 1922. I bet she never could have imagined 82 years later, a social media platform would take the world and how we treat each other and turn it on its head.
It's bad enough in real life very few take the time to be courteous, but social media has taken bad manners to a whole new level.
I generally use Facebook to post things I feel will amuse people and brighten their day in some form. I have, however, misused Facebook on occasion by oversharing. Guilty as charged; lesson learned.
There is so much variety in behavior on Facebook, it's hard to put a dent in the subject of manners in just one article, but I'll attempt to cover the basics in an effort to understand why the Facebook community is out of control.
I get that attention equals value for some, but every detail of your life does not have to be broadcast to the world - which seems hypocritical coming from someone who publishes details of her life in the newspaper. But, I write this column and share personal experience in an effort to soothe others through relatability.
Often, when we feel we're alone in something, it's hard to cope, but in knowing someone else went through the same thing you did, whether it be silly or tragic, we sometimes find comfort.
That's my plight. That's my goal. In sharing my stories, I hope to make someone else's life better no matter how insignificant the impact.
Keep it to yourself
I think class reunions are great, but I feel like Facebook has almost canceled out the need for such a gathering. Reuniting with your old classmates always seemed to be a fun game of "I wonder what they are up to." But it seems those days are gone thanks to social media. You don't have to ask Suzy Smith how many kids she has, where she lives and what she does for a living because it's likely all right there on her Facebook page.
Details like that are nice, I guess, for those you may have been close to at one time. Perhaps Facebook has increased the longevity of friendships that would have otherwise dimmed by keeping us in the loop of what our acquaintances are up to.
However, there is a point of oversaturation. Sure, I can see why you post pictures of your kids and husband. Yes, I get why you blast vacation photos all over your wall. Of course, I can see why, in times of tragedy and need, you may call to your Facebook family for prayers and support, but there is a realm which should be left alone: every dirty detail of your personal life, be it good or bad.
Listen, I know relationships are exciting - I've had my share of good and bad - but, airing out your dirty laundry, or the goings on in your bedroom is just a bad idea. Seriously. Just keep it in the dryer. I promise you, in hindsight, you won't regret it.
Love is a rollercoaster of emotion. When we're in it, we want the whole world to know, and when we're heart-broken or wronged by someone, we get all kinds of angry and sad and a knee-jerk reaction is to broadcast the details and make a spectacle of the one who made us feel that way in an effort to heal and feel better. Bad idea.
Your business is just that, your business. By posting it for all the world to see, you invite a storm of input, some of which may be more damaging.
Relying on family and friends to get you through something is natural and healthy. A minute-by-minute update of every detail of your life is unnecessary and does more harm than good.
People are downright awful to each other on Facebook and I find it completely embarrassing.
Everyone has their own personality and that kind of variety keeps life interesting. This one may post Bible quotes all day and that one may be partial to posting provocative photos of themselves.
To each his own. We're never going to all be the same. Respect that about the human race.
I just can't get over how mean people can be. Hurting others has no gain. It may feel good for a moment, but in the end, deliberate vindictiveness over petty nonsense has no reward.
I guess, for some, that's just their personality, so they have no shame in putting it out there, but I just don't get it.
Life is far too short to hold on to anger. That's not to say there aren't going to be things and people who tick you off in life, but, for the love of God, choose your battles.
I can't help but watch some of these battles play out, but, even as a bystander, it's a waste of time and energy even reading it.
I'm realistic enough to know we can't all get along at all times, but also schooled enough in the game of life to know hatred should never be a priority.
Because life can change at any moment.
My biggest pet peeve in the land of Facebook is a lack of respect.
Prime example: when something tragic happens, everyone feels the need to be the first to broadcast the details of the news. It's like it's a gossip game and someone is going to win a prize if they happen to be the one with the most detail or the missing link of information.
I understand that, too, sounds hypocritical coming from someone who breaks news stories for a living. However, understand the news we put out there comes from official sources, not gossip. We take pride in responsible journalism (go on, roll your eyes, we aren't perfect), which differs greatly from people's tendencies to broadcast business based on hearsay.
And you know exactly what I'm talking about.
As soon as there is an accident or someone passes away, it's a race for some to be the first to get the scoop.
It's not your place.
Understand that when these things happen, officials follow procedure to inform loved ones of what went down. It's protocol. If it had nothing to do with you, it's not your place to say on Facebook, "I heard this or I heard that" or "my uncle was there and said this about the crash."
It's human nature to be inquisitive; when something awful happens like an accident, it's normal to seek details to ensure your loved ones are all accounted for, but let it at that.
Even if you were an eyewitness, respect the fact that the person's family may not have been immediately notified. They may have been on vacation or in the shower. The last thing they need is to sign on to Facebook and learn something as it's being passed around as gossip.
When I lost my brother in an accident 12 years ago, I only had to deal with hearing through the grapevine a handful of rumors and inaccurate details of his accident. Had Facebook been around, that gossip, which by the way, was like a bucket of salt in an already painful, gaping wound, would have been absolutely unbearable.
By taking something tragic and treating it as gossip, you are causing a world of hurt. You are upsetting people's lives and winning no prize because of your ability to be the first one "in the know."
If a family takes to Facebook to update and rallies prayers and support from the Facebook community, by all means, show your support. Pray. Be there for them, but if they choose to keep matters private, give them that. They deserve that respect.
Facebook may seem silly to some, but, whether we like it or not, it's life on full, virtual blast and much like actual life, there should be some kind of structure when it comes to couth.
Please, think before you post.
(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item.)