Facebook 101 (Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo) – The Rules and Etiquettes in Keeping Friends In Cyber-land

It used to be so easy, you wanted to talk with someone, you simply picked up the phone, rotary dialed a series of numbers, listened through some ringing until the familiar, WorldPic“hello?”   Or, you might get a ‘busy’ signal, or, the line will continue to ring, at which time you time you would simply hang up and call back later.

Now, with the invention of voice mail, call waiting, caller ID and the internet, we have a myriad of ways to get a hold of each other.   And, on the internet we have email, twitter, Facebook, Gmail… you name it!  But with all of this there appears to be certain etiquette’s; etiquette’s this girl is still learning and trying to wrap my head around.  Now, are they necessary, or just hype?  It seems that people are simply making up their own rules as they roll along.  However, etiquette’s or no, I believe they are necessary if you are to make it in the ‘on-line’ world known as Cyber-land.  As I wrote in my post just a few days ago, it seems that we are fearless in our cyber-world, doing and saying things we would never think of doing or saying to each other face to face.  Placing all of our personal information ‘out there’ for the world to see.  What are the ins and outs of Cyber-land?  Are we too transparent for our own good?

I looked for an actual “rule book” and was only able to find parodies.  I found Rules of the Internet|Know Your Meme where they place a list or it is anonymously listed by visitors.This was basically a spoof of Etiquette for the Internet and created an anonymous board for users to list their pet-peeves.   I found an article on CNN’s site that reminded me of other culture’s, cultures where freedoms that we take for granted (Freedom of Speech, for instance) are non-existent.  The freedom to speak your opinions about your government- for example- is practiced freely here in the west.  So much so in fact that one might think it has been taken to the extreme; almost as if polluting our belief’s on everybody else’s Facebook page.  But, in certain culture’s, you can be imprisoned for sharing such views; even killed.  The internet, it turns out, is no joke.


When discussing privacy, someone once said to me, “there is no privacy.  Everything is out there…”  And perhaps they are right.  But I have to ask, can we not, then control some of our social media?  At least to the point of not coming off too irrational or bitchy?    With our ‘friends’ and ‘contacts’, how can we introduce them into our world of cyber etiquette?   When you meet face to face for instance, you can usually pick up on a person’s mannerisms and figure out how is best to handle xyz situation appropriately (or what might be deemed inappropriate) in their terms.  But in Cyber-land, who knows?  It is simply too easy to take an innocent statement and blow it way out of proportion; or to fly off the handle.  I did manage to find a blog on Essential Facebook Etiquette: 10 Dos and Don’ts  and it breaks down the essentials fairly well and concludes with; “At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to us to follow these etiquette rules. I guess it’s about finding the balance between the being fun and sensitive to everyone. On one hand, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves with rules and regulations that would limit our creativity and spontaneousness of our social interactions. On the other hand, we ought to be aware of the publicness of Facebook to protect our privacy and at the same time respect the fact that each one of us forms part of the Facebook experience of everyone else. Find that right balance and you’ll not only better that experience yourself, but also help others enjoy it as well!”

And, “bottom line” we do need to be aware (keenly aware) of the fact that there are other people involved.  Other moods, other minds that can and will interpret our interactions (however innocent); we need to remain cognizant of those facts and respond/reply/post in kind.  Understand that freedom of speech is a freedom; yes.  But it is one that comes with responsibility.  And is one that should come with prudence as well.  Let’s remember to be kind and to treat each other as we would so like to be treated; shall we?

The Internet By Gita Ashok

The Internet
is a great revolution.
Yet a great cause
of tremendous confusion.

Should I study?
Should I work?
Should I play?
Or simply online should I stay?

Everyone, everything
and every place:
all just a mouse click away!
Well, the Internet is surely here to stay.

It makes you smile,
it makes you laugh,
it makes you cry,
it makes you sometimes want to pry.

While the snail mail
takes several days,
the Internet offers
a number of cool ways.

At home, at work,
at school, at the airport,
we all stay with the Internet.
We do know why it’s still the best bet.

With the Internet
comes so much information explosion
that it often feels like
you’re searching in a vast, never-ending ocean.

Internet, Oh Internet!
You form bonds and break ties
easily all over the world.
There must be a million tales yet untold.

The Internet
never fails to keep me
busy as a bee.
I fear someday I shouldn’t become a zombie.

Internet, Oh Internet!
You give us a whole new world
for the meek and uninitiated
as well as for the robust and bold.

Internet, Oh Internet!
I plead with thee sincerely –
tell us how we can
live here more peacefully.

04 June 2010
9 am

Gita Ashok


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