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Wall posts and comments

Once we have made the decision to join FaceBook, we have to acknowledge to ourselves that we will reveal more privacy among our friends. Facebook refers to this as "sharing," and that's precisely what we do!

You may recall many cell phone ads in which sales pitches show off what they can do, by "connecting" you to each and every social network. It's funny how none of them wants you to use a phone just to call someone, anymore!

The particular ad I have in mind shows teenage kids trying to get their parents to leave with them on some family activity, but both parents are having a good time texting their status updates to Twitter from their cell phones. One kid says, "Dad, you don't have to tell them you're lounging on your lawn while sipping iced tea," - or something like that. It's a cute ad, but if we stop to think it's rather sad.

In my previous article I talked about some strange status updates from friends that show up on our social networks every now-and-then, in the hope that these will remind you to use commonsense and to write responsibly when you post your own status updates on FaceBook.

This is also true for wall-to-wall posts. -I think FaceBook has a new term for these now, something like "relationship."- This is when you post on a friend's wall, as a means of starting a conversation, and when a friend drops a note of a similar nature addressing you directly.

Whether you (and friends who post on your wall) would like to say a quick, "Hi, how are you? Haven't seen you lately. Hope all is well," or something of a more specific nature- such as a question about a project between you, what time the party starts, or, you ask the other person to get together for a cup of Joe, etc.- please be fully aware that a wall posting is NOT a private conversation. It will show up on both your friend walls. All your other friends will then see this "relationship," and, naturally, there will be lurkers. As is common practice on FaceBook, if it appears on your (and your friends') wall, some of these may have an irreversible itch to be a part of the particular conversation. Do not be surprised if you have an uninvited guest or -worse- a few, joining in the conversation that has nothing to do with them and is none of their business. On occasion, these new additions may say something fun that doesn't bother you or the other person whom you are addressing, but often they write something that is bizarre, unfit, or even irritating to the two of you. Perhaps it's better to make your conversation private instead of public- that is, if you don't want to bother with your other friends posting comments to your conversation.

If you don't like the fact that other people can chime in on your wall posts, then you have to keep in mind, also, that you will do best to refrain from the urge to attach your opinions into their conversations. If you feel strongly that your input can be of good use, though, start a new thread on the friend's wall and refer to the topic that has perked your interest.

We should lay out some general rules that are commonsense to some - but not all, otherwise, I wouldn't be writing about it, right?- while to others, things that are not first in their minds when it comes to public wall-posting manner:

DO NOT put any email address, home address, or phone number on the shared wall; not your own, and, especially, not anyone else's.
(Even in a private message, when you need to display an email address do not write it down as is, but instead spell everything out. For example, <-- yourname at somemailprovider dot com --> to replace <-- --> -In doing so, cyber robots are prevented from picking up the email, saving you from future spam.)

DO NOT refer to, or mention other friends' names or information about them in your public conversation. Respect and maintain their privacy. Let them tell their friends, on their own terms, about their health, marital relationship, finances, etc. It is NOT fine for you to reveal details that compromise other peoples' privacy, whether they are your grown children or your very-much-hated next door neighbors.

DO NOT jump in and crash the party when the on-going conversation is exclusive to people who share a common interest -a work or school project, a political discussion (from people who think the same way, and is, therefore, not a debate), a religious group discussion, or, is in a language other than the one you use. FaceBook is popular among 500 million users worldwide who speak many languages. Therefore, it does not limit its users to any one particular language, making ALL languages official. I have first-hand experience with this, having had a conversation in Thai with my Thai friends, where my non-Thai "friends" joined in and charmingly added, "in English, please," or, "HUH????" into our conversation. Please respect your friends who write in Italian, French, German, Chinese, Korean, and languages that are different from the one you use. If you are so curious, ask the wall owner politely -on a new thread or in private- if he would share with you what's going on in the "foreign" language thread. Your friend may or may not tell you, but at least he knows you are well-behaved, and he might even thank you for not barging in on him and his other friends.

PROFANITY, THREATS, AND BULLYING. Do not engage in these, and do not tolerate them. Take proper measures. Drop, block, and even report these people. You do not want garbage on your wall, especially when you are in certain professions or are currently seeking employment.

SWEEP YOUR WALL once in a while. Remove posts that are spam. Delete questionable and snarky posts. Get rid of posts that don't feel right to you. Maybe it's time to reevaluate your friends. Is it worth having a certain friend around: "She was so sweet in college, but now, thirty years later, she's a pest!" If you can't get rid of them because of some special relationship -he's a son of a sister of a friend's step-mother's nephew's in-law- then, create a special category for these "unwanted-but-cannot-get-rid-of" friends, and block friends in this category from seeing your activities.

CARRY ON WITH YOUR PROPER OFFLINE MANNER. I keep saying it again and again: Just because you have a license to go "hi-tech" does not mean that you can leave your good manners right at the base of your CPU laptop, iTablet, not-soSmart phone, blah, and blah. Before you cave in to the urge to give a quick clever remark to your faceless FaceBook friends, picture her sitting across from you and saying the statement you are about to post on her wall.

TASTE YOUR OWN MEDICINE. Ah, yes, we cannot have it both ways. We can't be a taker without also being a giver. Although it's simple to say, "We're only human," let's try not to become a hypocrite. Keep the balance, and treat others as you would like to be treated.

FACEBOOK RESPONSIBLY, and, look out the window and at the people once in a while. There's a whole world out there waiting for you and you don't even have to rely on your typing skill.


La CoffeeMelodie Suite

About us

We are an American father who has lived many years in Thailand, a Thai mother who has lived many years in the United States, and four children- the eldest born in America- who spent the first parts of their lives in Thailand and then moved to the USA. This multiculturalism provides a unique perspective and affords each of us the opportunity to approach things from new directions.

We follow our hearts wherever they take us. We also believe in sharing. If another is enriched then so, too, are we, for the betterment of one is the betterment of us all. We share our ideas, thoughts, knowledge and opinions with the hope that others will find value in them, as well as in the hope that they will pay it forward to make the world a continually better place.

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