Avoid social media embarrassment with our Facebook etiquette tips

Using the social media giant can sometimes make us wish we didn't have an account to start with

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In the world of cyber connection, it is rare to find an individual without a Facebook account.

However, although the giant social network’s privacy settings are meant to protect its users, in numerous instances many of us wish that we didn’t have an account to start with.

Having such regrets could be due to an embarrassing or awkward situation we ended up in in, even if it wasn’t intentional.

What most people don’t know about Facebook use is that it has its own etiquette rules too.

In fact, it’s almost like fashion - there are multiple “do’s and don’ts” and certain general guidelines it’s usually best to follow.

Dos and don’ts:

Here are some brief pointers to set you on the right track:

• Don’t have your messages full of typos! When sending any message, do use the “spell check” facility before you press the “send” button. In case of discovering any mistakes after posting, do use the “edit” facility to rectify.

• Do send your personal messages through another users inbox and not through their wall. Why? Because we should always remember that we have many acquaintances or colleagues who are not always close friends, so it’s best to keep very personal matters in within a private setting.

• Don’t behave or express your ideas in an emotional way or sound very rude. Always stay polite.

• Do comment on your friends’ posts from time to time or just press the “like” button if you wish them to continue to comment on yours.

• Do reply back on a comment or a post by your friends or at least press the “like” button till you have the time to comment back specially in the cases of a question or enquiry.

• Do keep the posting of photos of an event to a minimum and choose the best photos among them.

• Don’t “overshare” yourself on Facebook by reporting every single thing you get up to, as people either get bored or think that you have nothing else to do. Unless of course, you are a celebrity or are taking part in a special occasion such as an international fashion shows or a glamorous wedding.

• Don’t send new “add” requests to friends you have just met without sending them a note through their inbox indicating that you were happy to meet them. This is because people tend to forget names and to advise them that you wish to add them to your network. In this situation, it is up to the other party to accept or decline the request.

• Don’t tag photos or tag members with the “check in” function at a certain place - which would usually be at restaurants or leisure facilities - without obtaining their prior permission. This is because it might cause embarrassment to the other party as each member has his or her own circumstances.

• Don’t post photos of yourself and friends and then tag them before checking whether everybody in the photo is looking good – no one wants to have an unflattering photo of themselves available for the whole world to see.

• Don’t get involved in spreading nonsense chain messages especially the ones which state that if you don’t spread them something bad will happen.

• Don’t sound aggressive while expressing your political or religious opinions - you have always to remember that you have Facebook members from all sorts of backgrounds.

• Don’t use the “poke” facility which could be understood as childish, teasing or even harassment. Instead, send a message expressing what you have in mind.

Happy posting!

Balsam al-Khalil, chief representative officer for the Bank of Beirut in the UAE and Gulf region, obtained a "protocol master class" degree from Brussels this year, a program designed for candidates who want to pursue a professional career in business etiquette. In addition to studying fashion styling and image consultancy, Balsam recently published a book on travel etiquette.

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