June 4, 2013 Volume 13, Issue 6

Facebook etiquette: yeah or neigh?

By C. Saleh

Have you ever been a victim of an annoying Facebook friend? Whether it is displaying inappropriate pictures, talking about a relationship, or even gossiping about a teacher or boss, it is information that is just not appropriate for the web. Such things can cause drama that attracts negative attention. It is important that people know this boundary because when lines are crossed students have made it public so that anyone anywhere could end up reading it.

According to huffingtonpost.com, 80% of colleges and businesses look at Facebook posts and pictures and other social media websites to help decide if they want that person to be associated with their name.

It isn't only colleges and future jobs that students have to worry about: It's also their friends. Out of a survey of 20 RCHS students, 55% say that they have unfriended a person because their posts became too bothersome and 15% of the rest of those students have considered deleting a friend. In fact, 85% of students surveyed think people need to use better etiquette when posting on Facebook.

Ninth grader J. Mark says "I believe that people should use better etiquette when posting on Facebook because most of the time, people post random things that I honestly don't care about. Also, it is poor practice for school." English teacher Steve Busonik thinks that Mark is onto something when he mentions it being poor practice for school: "There is no question… [the] more informal essays that I collect, I see writing that belongs on Facebook. The kinds of misspellings and the tone of your writing that doesn't belong in a formal setting... Realistically, people need to understand that there are different tones for different writing situations. Just the way you don't talk to your friends the way you talk to your parents or to your teachers, you don't post the same kinds of things on Facebook that you put in essay or school work and vice versa." While English teacher Lisa Springle generally agrees with Busonik, she thinks that "people…can determine the best grammar for the certain setting."

Both teachers agree that people need to be really careful about posting controversial things about topics like politics or religion. Busonik says, "Arguing about politics and arguing about anything really is wonderful but people really need to be educated… because the exchange of ideas is very valuable and important and potentially it's a very good tool." Senior T. Zazzeri uses Facebook as an outlet for discussing personal opinions by saying things he wouldn't normally say in person: "It allows me to speak my mind to a much wider audience than I would get if I just told people in person. Also, it gives me a way to make sure my opinion is heard for sure." But Springle thinks that, "People are not usually swayed by what they read from others on Facebook" and consequently wouldn't use Facebook if being heard by a bigger audience was the only purpose.

Facebook does have rules and regulations. Some of the things that facebook.com includes in their statement of rights and responsibilities are, "You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user. You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence. You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory." Also on the list it states Facebook has the power to take off any post or photo if necessary, but Busonik wonders why, in his experiences on Facebook, the company does not enforce these regulations. When asked if there should be more regulations, he says, "I'm not sure it would be impossible but it would be difficult to enforce." Springle thinks that if more regulations were put into place, "people would shy away from [Facebook] if they felt like it was being regulated."