The PR profession is challenged in the age of social media. Many experts feel entitled to scrutinize how people use Facebook, Twitter and the like, and what’s even worse, they feel entitled to judge what these people are doing, how they are sharing, and what they are sharing. The trend is so “hot” that almost every PR publication out there, and then some, has a Facebook etiquette list, dos and don’ts, and even infographics.
The PR profession feels entitled to dictate people what to say and not to say. The so-called advice denies people the right to express religious or political beliefs on their own profiles, because, in the PR expert’s opinion, Facebook profiles are not appropriate, suggesting that only “special buildings” or “private groups” can be used for fellowship and like-minded praise and worship.
The list of oddities promoted by PR experts in the quest to becoming “authorities” in social media usage can go on forever. While much of the advice is useful and common sense, there are enough instances when the enthusiasm goes too far, eventually infringing people’s right to freedom of speech.
So instead of reading lists of dos and don’ts slapped together by an overzealous PR or so called social media expert who just writes for notoriety, consider this: your Facebook profile is your Facebook profile. You may use it as you please, as long as you don’t violate Facebook’s TOS (terms of service).
There’s a very simple solution to overcome Facebook frustration: if you don’t like it, don’t read it. If there’s too much there you don’t agree with, stop using it. Or simply unfollow streams that “disturb” you. You don’t have the right to tell people what to post on their own profiles, but you can choose whether you continue to friend those people or not.
Facebook serves different purposes to different people, and what you have to understand is that not people are savvy enough to know how to use the network to hide from their timelines information that is of no use to you. There will always be those who publish cryptic messages, notes to self, game updates and so on. Instead of complaining about them, simply unfollow those persons’ updates.
There’s also the old rule of common sense that applies to information that you choose to make public on Facebook. Also remember that if you spam, publish too often, offend people’s beliefs, and so on, there are chances that some of your “friends” will unfriend, and even block you.
The only Facebook etiquette advice that makes sense, refers to how businesses should use the network. When it comes to private individuals, to each his own.
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