While most people already heavily participate in social media and are well-versed when it comes to Facebook, I will use this first post as a “how-to-guide” for those who yearn for an in depth tour of the site. After all, Facebook has long since evolved from a place to solely view family photos and vacations into one of the main ways society communicates and assigns value.
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So How does it work?
Once you setup your profile and spend the first agonizing hour choosing the perfect profile picture, Facebook becomes an essential way to keep up with close friends, local events, and current news. According to HowStuffWorks.com, Facebook users collectively share more than 30 billion pieces of content per month. Facebook acts as a filter that carefully sorts out this content, like pictures of your neighbor’s new dog or the most-favored presidential candidate, to present the information you are most likely to be interested in. This personalized information is showcased on your Newsfeed, which is possibly the most used feature on Facebook.
The Newsfeed is aptly named because this feature provides both news within your circle (“ Oh my goodness, Jane got engaged!”) and news on a larger scale (“Oh my goodness, I cannot believe Donald Trump said that out loud). No matter which end of the scale your post falls on, anything you post on Facebook will end up in the Newsfeed.
Your Newsfeed is divided into two viewing categories, Top Stories (The most-liked and viewed posts from your friends) and Most Recent (Your friends’ posts in chronological order). In order to have your post reach Top Stories fandom, you must either have some extremely wonderful happen or have extremely poor Facebook etiquette (people seem to really enjoy judging and insulting each other on social media).
HowStuffWorks.com notes that the four top etiquette rules of Facebook are:
- You should respond anytime someone posts on your page.
- You shouldn’t say anything disrespectful about a friend on Facebook (Unless you really want to be the top story).
- Think about how a comment will affect a Facebook friends’s relationships) personal and job) before you post something on their page.
- You shouldn’t repost a post if a Facebook friend deletes it.
Should I Post This?
In order to answer this question, first read through the top four. If you think your post is safe based on the above rules, keep in mind that there is still a high probability of offending at least one of your Facebook friends and decide if his/her reaction is worth the post. If you are intentionally trying to make Top Stories by causing a stir, make sure you include strong political opinions, anything regarding money, and make sure everyone understands your personal approach to parenting/ dieting and why only your approach is correct.
Tagging: Who to Include, Who to Leave Out
Tagging a friend on Facebook in either a post or photo is a dangerous game. Make sure that you are friends with this person outside social media or are at least planning to become acquaintances. Also follow rule number 3. You friend will not thank you for posting a picture of him/her intoxicated at a party when their boss may see that photo and question his/her value at the company. When in doubt, post with out tagging unless the website or photo included in the post has a “G” rating.
To Comment or Not to Comment?
Commenting on posts and pages is essential to being successful on Facebook. If done correctly, commenting on Facebook posts can increase your networking opportunities. If done incorrectly, you just may lose the majority of your Facebook friends. Before commenting, ask yourself the following questions: Is this helpful to people other than myself? Did I fully understand the post I plan to comment on? Am I worried that this comment will negatively affect me? If you answered yes to the first two questions, your comment will succeed at increasing your relevance on Facebook. If you answered yes to the last question, consider whether or not you care to lose Facebook friends or the respect of your friends outside social media. This importance behind staying relative on social media and the constant battle between being a good friend and being popular drives the current epidemic know as Facebook Addiction.
According to HowStuffWorks.com, the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) released a study in 2010 that concludes that social media is addictive. The 200 college students who participated in the study’s “24 hour unplugged” test reported being “very anxious, extremely antsy, jittery, and miserable.” In other words, people have developed a dependence on social media in order to increase popularity and to “stay current” on recent events. Whenever someone tells another person a shocking story, he/she almost always seems to respond “Oh I know, I saw that this morning on Facebook!”. HowStuffWorks.com encourages users suffering from Facebook Addiction to establish guidelines, pay attention to other activities, stress compassion and responsibility, and focus on Internet safety. While these tips are mainly geared towards parents to protect young adults, adults themselves would do well to head them. If you fear you are becoming addicted to social media (you align with the symptoms above and also have a strong desire to look at your Facebook account when you first wake up), I suggest you take a deep breath, turn off your phone or laptop, and take a short walk to get some fresh air. When you return to Facebook, I assure you that you will be much more receptive to the joy funny animal videos bring users and less likely to comment on something you should probably leave alone.
Login to your Facebook.com and click “Top Stories.” Write down what the first story in the Newsfeed is and how this story makes you feel. Look at some of the comments and free write about why this post is so popular. Next, click “Most Recent.” Write down the first story in the Newsfeed again and follow the same steps as above. What is different about the two posts? What does this difference say about how we value things on social media?