Facebook status updates are broadcast for all your friends to see (and in some cases, random strangers too). Are you doing something that could land you on their 'Hide' list or make them delete you from their friends list? Could you lose your job over a post? Fine tune your status updates so that you're never saying too much, too little, or just expressing yourself badly.
The List of Shame
Bad status updates can take on many forms.
1. The Ones That Say Too Much
If you're drunk, sick, intimate with someone else, or doing things you shouldn't be doing, it's best to leave the details out. Posting on your timeline about how "wasted" you are won't look good to your boss, clients, or potential employers who may be able to find your status updates online. An overview is fine! Spare your friends the ugly details. No one is going to "like" that.
- This food poisoning has me spewing chunks like the possessed girl from The Exorcist.
- Tonight's date was really ambitious with the Frenching. I could feel his tongue cleaning the inside of my molars.
- Wooooo!!! I'm so hammered! Totally calling in sick to work tomorrow.
2. The Ones That Say Too Little
Very vague messages or even inside jokes between a couple friends can annoy and alienate all the other people on your contact list. Some may even call you an attention hog if you routinely post messages to pique people's interest without filling in enough details. People know you just want them ask for more information! Stop with the vaguebooking. Just stop.
- Crying myself to sleep.
- Well, that was something else.
- Can't believe he did that. So furious right now.
3. Griping and Complaining
Sometimes a little venting is okay and you'll be able to get the support you need from your friends. However, be careful what you post! Complaining about your boss could get you fired. And if you always post negative comments, you're likely to inspire your friends to hit the 'Hide' button.
- Got denied for a raise again. Seriously, this company is so cheap.
- Will this Starbucks ever get my order right? I don't know why I keep coming back.
- Seeing all my friends getting married and having kids and here I am still stuck on step one.
4. Intentional Misspellings and Grammar Mistakes
No one's perfect. The accidental typo or grammar mistake is usually acceptable and possibly even unnoticeable. You might think that misspelling words on purpose is funny, but all you're doing is annoying your friends and degrading their impression of you.
- meh new iphone is s0000 siiiick
- Gon head out with ma chic soon.
- So watchu know about dat?
5. Chain Letter Inspired
Deep down, most people know that there's no chance of bad luck being passed through a message they refused to re-post. If you see a chain update, even if you read it all the way through and feel totally jinxed, you don't have to spread it. The worst chains call for tagging friends as those automatically show up in their notifications area.
- If you don't repost this to your wall and tag five friends, you'll never find true love.
- Here are five things from my childhood that you didn't know about me. Repost yours on your page!
- It's official. Facebook will start selling all the photos of its users except for those who post the following legal statement on the profiles.
6. Constant Updates
Your friends don't need the play-by-play of every minute and mundane detail of your life. They don't need their news feeds flooded with your rapid-fire updates like you're live-tweeting some exclusive event. They don't care. It's like the person at the party who just won't shut up about the stupidest things.
- Good morning, Facebook. Going to brush my teeth.
- Forgot to charge my electric toothbrush. I guess I'll have breakfast first while I charge it.
- Done with breakfast. Should be able to brush my teeth now.
7. It's All About You
True, Facebook updates are often supposed to be about you, what's going on in your life and so on. That doesn't mean you should use them to brag about your accomplishments, purchases, or extravagant vacations too frequently. No one can live up to the Facebook version of their friends. Jealousy is a horrible thing.
- Guess who just landed another huge promotion at work? This guy! And I just got another raise last week too.
- Au revoir, Paris. We had a splendid time with all your croissants and cafes. Next stop: Barcelona!
- I just couldn't help myself. These Jimmy Choos are just too darn cute.
8. Mixed Messages
If you mix your friends with your business contacts and potential clients on Facebook, you may want to start a separate page to keep your private life and work life separate. Friends who aren't in your line of work might get tired of your professional updates. Sharing baby pictures with your work associates or poking your prospective business partner might not be terribly appropriate either.
- Just listed: a cozy bungalow with a lot of character on a quiet street. PM me to book a viewing.
- Hosting a networking event for local startups this weekend at the Diamond Hive. Tickets are $10 and include your first drink.
- Taking the kids out to Splashdown Park today. It's Mandy's first time at a water park. So excited!
The Internet Is Forever
Social media has really brought the whole world closer together, making it easier than ever to connect with friends, family and colleagues from all around the globe. With great power comes great responsibility. Before you click that blue 'Post' button on your status update, be sure you want those words immortalized on the web, both for your sake and the sake of all your friends.