Recently there has been a lot of talk about the far-reaching consequences social networking sites like Facebook can have on people’s lives: people’s real lives. Online interaction, especially on social networking sites like Facebook, could have significant ramifications on your life offline.
You may often get carried away and your ‘online’ personality could brag and boast, or say something horribly mean on Facebook, and then you have to deal with the consequences of that act of indiscretion in real life.
Much like the offline media, social media like Facebook, and your profile page, can be accessed by thousands of people. There need to be certain ethics that you follow, and exercise great caution of what you say on your status update. As much as Facebook allows us to stay connected with people, you have to admit that they are partly superficial. We get to pretend for a while.
Why else do our display pictures look a hundred times better than our real selves? Most status messages and photographs you upload are to display a best version of yourself. You get to package yourself in the most attractive and witty moments and put that forward to the world. You photograph yourself at social dos, post quotes that you chance upon, and ‘like’ things that you don’t care much about: your social persona tries to tell others what to think of you: how well-read, tolerant, cheerful, warm and friendly you are.
While it’s commendable to put your best foot forward on Facebook, don’t be too insincere, especially when the emotions of others are involved. In order to honor friendship, you need to invest time and effort, offline. You have to meet, hug and smile at the person, and not intermittently poke him or her or throw sheep into her farm.
Serious conversations are held face to face
If you have something rude or unpleasant to say to friends and loved ones, don’t do it on Facebook: meet up with him or her, and break it gently. You cannot hide behind your online persona: the real world will always catch up with you. If you wouldn’t say it to the person’s face, don’t say it on Facebook.
Stay away from emotional exhibitionism
No matter how much you love your best friend or boyfriend: don’t advertise it on Facebook. Some things are best said in person. Show respect to the other person and to the relationship you share, by maintaining and staying within boundaries. Protect your privacy.
Keep away from verbal vomit
Nobody wants to hear and know about every thought that crosses your mind. Updates can be a fun and witty way to let people what you’re thinking of, but if it’s too sharply critical of someone, or too personal, or too emotional, think twice.
Not everybody in your friends' list wants to know the dark morbid or downright evil thoughts that cross your mind. Before you make it public on Facebook that you are engaged or have tied the knot, it’s a good idea to let those close in person first. They might feel hurt or slighted if it suddenly leaps out at them from their Facebook page.
Facebook is a stepping stone, a springboard to an active and healthy social life: don’t let it turn you into a lazy couch potato.