I don’t know about you, but Facebook has gradually begun to take over my life over the past few years. It’s getting to the point where I think in third person, a la the Facebook status: “Kathryn is really stressed about her class schedule this spring.” “Kathryn is annoyed with bad drivers who slow her down.” “Kathryn really needs to get laid.” See? Now that last one would be inappropriate.
It’s hard, because I usually use FB to communicate with close friends who may have moved far away since our glory days as high school minors, and I often forget that I have a few hundred random people who really DON’T need to know my personal details. So, fellow collegiates, the next time you sit down and log in, take some of the following factors into consideration and reconfigure your FB behavior.
1. Poking is not a form of flirtation.
WTF? It’s a poke. It’s been around since the birth of Facebook, and it’s never made any sense. Maybe years ago, when FB was a baby, it was funny to have an online program that allowed you to “poke” people, but now, it’s played out. What comes from the poke? One of two things: The ignored poke, which will make you feel uber lame, or the “poke back.” And what comes from that?
2. “Gifts” are not actually gifts.
Whenever a free gift pops up, I think of a reason to send it to my cousin (who may or may not actually be my fraternal twin). However, spending $1 on a graphic is just lame. Especially when they sell out. HELLO! Virtual icons cannot sell out, because they don’t actually exist!!!! So, instead of spending a dollar to send your BFF a cartoon teddy bear, or your crush a virtual pair of panties as a sorry way to flirt, save your money and buy something that can be wrapped.
3. Your status does not need to reflect your deepest feelings, and does not need to be updated more than once a day.
I’m guilty of this one. But it’s true. FB statii have become the new away message. But in the third person. So you can’t even put up a (so you think) meaningful quote without saying something to the effect of “CJ says, in the words of Shakespeare, ‘The Lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of imagination all compact.” It’s effing Facebook. No need to go poetic. Besides, you have limited space, so you may not even be able to say everything you want to… which is a blessing in disguise.
4. You don’t need to attempt to FB chat with someone just because you don’t know their screen name.
There are loads of people who don’t even know how to work the FB chat, so chances are, you’ll send a “Hiiii! You there?!?” message that will never be returned. You’ll feel awkward, and who knows if the person on the receiving end will even get it. Unless you have successfully FB chatted with someone in the past, I highly suggest refraining from initiating the catch-up convo in this manner. Especially when you’re drunk.
Seriously, when you’re drunk, just leave the Facebook chat alone. Really. Please.
5. There is no reason to spend more time on Facebook than on your studies.
Well, besides the fact that profile updates are more entertaining than the history of the Civil War. But do you really want to be that person who is ALWAYS online? Go take a walk, go to the gym, hell, have some face-to-face interaction with someone!
6. Know your privacy settings. And even if you do, proceed with caution.
Over the past few years, several news stories have broken out in regards to people whose lives have been ruined due to Facebook and Myspace content. Teachers who post pics with a beer in their hand are fired, high school kids with less-than-scholarly profiles have been denied college admission. You know it. If you have party pics online, set your profile to private. You might even want to block certain people from certain photo albums. Just keep in mind that you might not even remember some of the people that you added months ago, whom you might not want to let into your personal life.