Social Etiquette 2

Let me describe a scenario.

You join a Facebook Challenge which involves being part of a secret group made up of fellow challengees.

Before the end of the first day 3 or 4 members of the group have sent you a friend request.

You accept, because, after all you’re part of the same group.

In the middle of the second day you comment on an existing friend’s post (let’s call her Cheech) and later that day you find that one of your brand-new-not-yet-24-hours-acquainted-friends has also commented on the same post.

‘Oh,’ you think, surprised, ‘how does she know Cheech?  Is she a part of our network?’

 You go on to her page out of curiosity and you can’t see her list of friends, just your mutual friends and you note that she’s friends with not only Cheech, but Chong, Flim, Flam, John, Paul Ringo… you get my drift. In fact, you have 29 mutual friends.


You realise she can’t know these people because they are from very different contexts in your life. And it slowly dawns on you that this person, let’s call her Scaramanga has, in less than 24 hours of becoming your friend, trawled through your list of friends and spammed them into becoming her friend.

Did I mention you can’t see her friends?


What would you do?


This happened to me a few weeks ago and , well, first of all I unfriended her – but then the damage was already done.

Then I wrote a post on my timeline informing people that I didn’t know her giving them the choice to keep her as a friend or not, to accept her as a friend or not – but then the damage was already done.

Finally, I found out how to block people from seeing my list of friends. (I didn’t know that was possible until then) - but the damage was done.


A couple of weeks later I found that not only has she done the same to others, she’s also stolen people’s content.  And I got angry all over again.

I hadn’t blocked her so had to go back on her page to find that, lo and behold, the list of mutual friends had increased to 42.

I contacted each of every one of them and let them know what I knew, and again, gave them the option to remain friends with her or not.

And then I blocked her.


Why I was so angry about it? Because I got sloppy?

No, it’s not that.


Because I don’t want to share my friends?


No, it’s not that either.

When a friend comes to stay at my house for the first time I do most things for them to help them feel at home. After that I tell them they can feel free to help themselves to whatever they need.

I invited Scaramanga into my home and I didn’t even get a chance to offer her a cup of tea before she felt it was okay to help herself to the biscuits and cake AND the contents of my freezer.

I was also concerned that she may compromise my credibility – I don’t know how, but she could.

And another thing, if she’s so quick to help herself to my friends list, what else could she do? Create another account using my profile?

That’s another post.

Facebook is so different to what we first joined, for me, about 9 years ago. My sister was the only friend I had for the first year. Today 1.23bn people log on to Facebook each day and it is increasingly seen as a cheap and quick way to grow a community and gain possible customers for your product or service.

This means the lines have become blurred; what used to be a medium to make friends, reconnect with lost friends and stayed connected with loved ones from across the globe has become a free for all for anyone who has a thought, or idea. It’s become a place for likeminded people to meet and share their experiences if they wish and a place, I believe, for people to meet possible love interests. The difference happened so quickly and in such a subtle way, that we didn’t know when we crossed the line and moved from:

·        keeping our friends and family informed

·        sharing photos

·        enjoying others’ experiences,


·        opening our lives up to all and sundry,

·        pressing the Go Live button and expressing our opinions on any and everything

all in the name of business.


When I think back to this time last year:

·        I mainly used Facebook to check my friends and family birthdays

·        I had my New 5ifty Facebook page but it was hidden.

·        I never accepted a friend request from someone who shares only 1 mutual friend (unless I’d met them before) and never accept a request with someone with no connection.

·        I controlled who saw what on my timeline. My list of friends is split into Family, Close Friends, Friends and Acquaintances. (Acquaintances are for the people who I may have met at a conference or seminar but didn’t really engage with. And for people like Scaramanga who I’ve not met). Nearly everything I posted was for close friends and family’s eyes only.


Today my timeline is available to the public, and they can still only see what I want them to see.


I feel like a real fuddy duddy writing about this, but our generation is the one that has no choice but to ‘get with the techno programme, ‘and learn and engage with the quantum leap in technology in the last 50 odd years. – The older generation could decide they wouldn’t bother – many of them didn’t and the younger generation were au fait with social media, smartphones and tablets before they could read or write. So we are having to work with something relatively new, with our old sensibilities.

There’s no getting away from it. Facebook and other forms of social media are the way forward. They are the advertising and communication media of today and the future. We are making up the rules as we go along and hopefully, the Facebooks and Snapchats, the Instagrams and WhatsApps, the WeChats, Messengers, etc. will support us in creating a new set of good manners.


A Social Media Etiquette maybe.