WINDHOEK- Facebook currently has about 127 000 Namibian users and many of these users access the pages via mobile phones and not a PC or a fixed connection.
As with all other online communication, communicating in Facebook is mostly textual. We can neither hear the voice tone nor see the body language when the other person ‘speaks’. In other words, it’s easy for someone to think you are being sarcastic when you are not, or misunderstand you in any other manner for that matter. To complicate things, everyone has their own typing style.
One way we can compensate for the lack of cues is to use emoticons. It’s pretty limited, but experience has taught me that a simple smiley face after a sentence can do wonders by neutralising any potential tension. Smile and the whole world smiles with you :)
1. Make friend requests to strangers
Some people have this idea that the number of ‘friends’ you have in Facebook is a status of your popularity in real-life. That may be true if these ‘friends’ are people whom you know offline, and not strangers whom you randomly add while browsing through the Facebook network.
The idea becomes warped when people add friends merely for the sake of boosting their ‘popularity indicator’ among their peers. That’s not cool. But if you wish to add someone for some valid reason, like to get to know this girl you have a crush on, do so with some introduction or through a mutual friend. Skipping that step only leaves a bad impression of you, which is the last thing you want.
2. Tag your friends in ‘unglam’ shots
Guys may take it lightly when they are tagged in photos that look as if they just woke up from the bed, thinking that it’s a joke pulled off by their friends. When it comes to gals though, appearing ‘unglam’ means a lot more to them. Of course, this applies to some guys as well. What you need to take from this rule is to be sensitive of who you might be tagging in photos, especially those shots which are obviously awfully taken.
3. Overshare yourself
Checking out the updates on your newsfeed, you see the same friend updating his status over and over again. Not any insightful ones, but just posts about what he’s doing every ten minutes. How exciting. You decide to hide his posts.
Sounds familiar? Probably. It’s annoying because no one is really interested in their friends’ everyday mundane activities, yet it just keeps popping out in their updates. Spice up your status updates a little. Instead of telling your friends you’re in the can taking a leak, share something interesting about yourself.
4. Vent about your work
Facebook is a double-edged sword when it comes to its social networking capability. The boon is that it enables us to connect in an unprecedented manner with friends of friends of friends through the identification of mutual friendships. On the other hand, the bane is that there’s easily a way to gather information about you by passing through such layer one-by-one.
Even with your most stringent privacy settings, there’s still a risk that what you post can reach people you wouldn’t want it to reach, and your co-workers and boss are the last people you want to mess with. So, just play safe and leave your venting to somewhere private.
5. Post chain status updates
Remember those chain e-mails that demand you to forward to all of your friends or you’ll die a horrible, horrible death? Well, Facebook has a similar kind of chain, but usually for a good cause. Someone first post a status update about a social cause, encouraging those who read it to post the status too, so that their friends will get to read it and post it as well. This chain thus spread the cause, raising public awareness.
The intention here is right but sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t good. When you see your news-feed updates filled with the same status, you get annoyed instead, and you associate your negative emotion to that social cause.
Everyone is entitled to state their own opinion on the free internet, so there’s no need to put anyone down just because you disagree (or worse, don’t like the person). Sometimes I even see people criticising the comments of their friend’s friend who replied to the post, whom they don’t even know. It’s embarrassing not only to yourself, but to your friend as well.
In the spirit of good conversations, let’s keep this in mind in whatever communication we have online, in Facebook, forums, emails, etc. Don’t ruin it for everyone!
A last word on don’ts
Don’t post the year you were born. This lets people know how old you are and if you are unfortunate enough to run in to an online predator you are more likely to become a target if they know you are young. Also, since Facebook reserves the right to sell your stats and email address putting your full birth date up could set you up for more spam than you’d otherwise receive, since your birth date identifies your age group demographic which is a primary demographic identifier. Spammers often ask for specific age ranges when setting up targeted email lists, omitting the year you were born makes it less likely that you’ll be put on such a list.
Don’t be afraid to allow some people to only see a limited version of your profile. Limited profiles show things like your profile picture, your name, your basic info and your friends lists but do not show things like your wall, your interests, your contact info and any photos or videos of you that are not used as