Nine things you should never do on Facebook

By Kevin Henry, Managing Editor, Dental Economics

1. Write on a wall instead of communicating privately. We are a voyeuristic society. People love the idea that others are watching what they’re doing. If you have something private to say, don’t do it on a Facebook wall.|

2. Use Facebook mail instead of e-mail. If you have someone’s e-mail, use it. If you send someone a message through Facebook, he or she has to log into real e-mail, then log into his or her Facebook account to read and reply to your message. Skip the middleman and e-mail directly.

3. Write senseless status updates.
Do I really need to know you just ate three tacos for lunch? Do I really need to know your cat just coughed up a hairball the size of its head? No. If your Facebook page is used to connect with customers, keep it professional.

4. Add, and then forget old friends. It happens all too often. You haven’t seen someone since high school. You vaguely recognize their name on Facebook but not their face. They add you as a friend, and then after you accept them, you never hear from them again.

5. Add people you don’t even know. Why would you become “friends” with someone you don’t even know? Why would you want this person to see what you’re writing about your family? Make sure there’s some connection when you add someone as a friend.

6. Add self-serving friends. Make sure you’re not just adding someone who will do nothing but make a sales pitch to you. Conversely, don’t be the “salesperson” everyone avoids.

7. Update your Facebook profile after you’ve called in sick. If you tell the boss you’re sick, don’t update your Facebook profile about how great “Avatar” was or how nice it was at the beach. Hmmmm … maybe you shouldn’t add your boss as a “friend” at all.

8. Use your Facebook status to air grievances. If you’ve got something to say to someone, say it. Don’t post it on your wall. Not everyone is interested in your private life … or who was right or wrong in an argument.

9. Upload drunken pictures the morning after. Have a little common sense. If you party on Friday night, don’t post photos on Saturday for the world to see. Remember earlier when we talked about your boss seeing your page? Not only can your boss see what you did, so can your coworkers and customers.

In addition to this “top 9,” I also asked some of my personal Facebook friends what they would advise people never to do on Facebook. Here are their responses…

** Do not “poke” each other back and forth all day, day after day.

** Avoid anything that has to do with agriculture, The Mob, or “gifts.” Ugh.

** Do not respond to people’s status updates merely to promote your Web site.

** Don’t use profanity. My kids are always looking over my shoulder. I don’t want to explain it to them or say, “That’s my friend from high school. He has a potty mouth.”

** Don’t mix theology with technology. God does not favor those people who mention Him in their Facebook status and claim extra blessings for those of us who do the same.

** Don’t be negative all the time, or talk bad about your job or other people.

** If you’re a grown up, please write like one. I’m too old to do “BTW, IDK, and WTVS.”

** Personally, I could go all day without ever seeing a “LOL” again.

** I think it goes without saying that we don’t want to read about bodily functions, or anything to do with “drunk,” “wasted,” or “high.” It’s important for people to decide if they want a truly personal Facebook page (limited friends) or a mix of personal/professional.

** Don’t forget that everything you publicly post can be searched, and is stored. I’ve Googled old posts of mine from Facebook and Twitter and found them … and it’s not just Google keeping them.

** Many people forget to organize their Facebook account. Create lists of friends, family, and others (I call them channels), and then be careful what you post. I found out some information about a nephew recently that I wish I had not learned because he was bragging to his friends and forgot that his entire family can see what he posts. A little time spent learning how Facebook works makes for a much better experience.

** Remember that this is a public forum, so don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mom to read. Also, don’t post something about a specific person because you never know when a “friend of a friend” might just be that person.

** Don’t friend someone that you never expect to hear from. I had someone from high school friend me and then ask, “Excuse me, but who are you?” when I posted a comment. Take time to get to know your “friends.” Check them out before responding.

** Don’t pick on childhood friends. They have a professional life now.

** Don’t upload terrible pictures of your friends.

** I get impatient with people who complain about everything written on Facebook. It’s called freedom of speech, and we are entitled to type what is on our minds … even though some people don’t agree with what they read.

** Don’t go to a dental convention, attend parties in the evening, take pictures of leaders in the industry after they have had a few drinks and are acting like fools with their “pants on the ground,” and post them the following day on Facebook!

** Don’t spam or too frequent posts (this includes events).

** Don’t post personal views on politics and religion. I’ve actually changed my opinion about people I was considering doing business with because they were so outspoken it was unprofessional and a turn off.

** Don’t post personal problems and mood swings on Facebook.

** One suggestion is to treat Facebook like a conversation with a friend — don’t preach, don’t oversell, and do be friendly and personable.

** This is why God allows us to have Fords and Chevrolets. What one person thinks is brilliant and clever, others find annoying. I think it is important to remember that some of your personality comes through in your post. Big deals to me are keep it clean, keep it real, don’t always toot your own horn, it is OK not to update daily, be humble, don’t send quizzes, and don’t send me a drink.

** If you are going to post personal things often, have two separate Facebook accounts, one for personal and one for professional.

** Don’t give gifts!

Note from Kevin: Yes, I'm on Facebook. Yes, I try my best to follow these rules. If you want to friend me for some of the latest information on DentistryIQ.com, click here.

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