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An Open Letter to Friends and Acquaintances (and Strangers) On Facebook

What Makes You Do What You Do

I love social media, and one of my favorite sites is Facebook. I use it to promote businesses, share my writing, and let people have a glimpse of my world. I’m not fake on Facebook. While I don’t share every single little detail of my life on social media, what I do share is real.

The more years go by in the virtual world of friends and strangers, the more I get annoyed with certain things. We all do; it’s common to get frustrated with things that are in your life, even when it’s something like social media. I could walk away, but I can’t. It’s not an addiction. I am a freelance writer for a living and my jobs often require I have an online presence in various social media platforms.

So, while we’re stuck in this virtual boat together, let me tell you about some of the things you’re doing that are making your friends consider unfriending you.

*Disclaimer—This letter is directed at all Facebook users, even people I don’t know. If you read this and feel a twinge of guilt or you feel singled-out or offended, that means you’re guilty too.

STOP WAVING!

This isn’t us passing by one another on the street. We’re on social media. If you have time to click the "wave" button, you have time to type an actual message. Waving isn’t a replacement for a conversation starter. Messenger is for conversations.

While I’m on the subject of Facebook messenger, stop messaging me over and over without giving me a chance to reply. If I don’t respond it’s because I am busy or I don’t have anything to say to you. As a professional business person, I tend to respond to all messages within a day, but sometimes I get messages that I just don’t have the ability to deal with. And when that person sends me multiple messages, saying the same things… Well, you’re now blocked from sending me messages. Thanks, but my time is precious. Not only do I work two jobs that equal above full-time work, but I also run a couple of my own companies. Unless you’re a good friend of mine, I don’t often have time to chat away about nothing (plus, I like conversations with some substance to them).

Think Before You Comment

You guys! I don’t care if you’re commenting on my post or on a news article post; Start talking like adults online. Your profile is accessible when you post a comment, even when you’re posting on a news article that randomly shows up on your feed because one of your friends liked it. Sure, if you have your account set to “friends only,” people might not be able to see your posts unless you made them “public,” but they still see your name and where you reside. They still see that you’re a douche hat, because you can’t control yourself from commenting ridiculously on FB posts.

Speaking of adult writing—Businesses like to research prospective clients and employees online. Be your best self out there, guys. Not only does that mean not looking like a drunken fool, but it also means editing your posts. If you're trying to get a gig as a writer and all of your social media posts are full of spelling and grammar errors, you're not going to get a gig (or not a good one, anyway).

Also, huge pet peeve: Stop giving advice when you don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t mind so much when someone who has experienced, or is experiencing similar things, comments with what worked for them, what they did, or with a “yep, me too.” But, if you can’t actually relate, shut up. You don’t need to comment just to comment. It’s kind of like talking shit just because you like the sound of your own voice.

Just ask yourself how you’d feel if someone commented with what you’re about to say on one of your posts. If you’d be annoyed, angry, or sad, don’t do it.

Stop Sharing Fake News (Because You think It’s Real)

Snopes exists for a reason. Unless you know what you’re sharing is a hoax or satire, and you’re sharing it for the simple fact that it’s funny, don’t share it until you verify it. It literally takes less than ten minutes to look something up on Snopes before you look like an idiot for believing a satire post.

Another article sharing habit I hate is sharing things you didn’t even read yourself. Don’t share an article and say it’s cool if you can’t back up your statement, because if you have no knowledge of the article that means you didn’t even read it. Why would you share something you didn’t read? Why are you supporting something that could be lies, propaganda, and poorly written? You just won’t know if you don’t read it first.

Those are my social media pet peeves, mostly revolving around Facebook. If you have social media pet peeves too, I’d love it if you’d share this article and include some of yours with it!

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