How Not to Be a Jerk in Facebook

chris brogan Ahhh, Facebook. I’m not a giant fan. But, it is one place to reach out and connect with people, and I do maintain a Facebook profile there, so when I dip in to check things out, it reminds me that not everyone uses it the same way. With that in mind, I had a few ideas I wanted to share.

But as I went in to gather up some screenshots, I found a mix of the good and the bad of using Facebook, so it changes how I intended to write about it. Just the same, I have some thoughts on Facebook, starting with your mug shot. Most of this is opinion, but it’s tempered by my experiences and interactions with professionals and casual connectors, so use it as you see fit.

Put up a HUMAN Picture

Don’t put up your company logo, and don’t put up one of those scary yearbooky-looking business photos that some folks seem to use. Where do you GET those? Please don’t look like you could go in this set:

photo credit by tifotter

Join a Few Groups- Not Just Your Company’s Group

As people are starting to understand how Facebook makes an interesting place to run an official group, they are building campaigns around acquiring group members. If you’re looking to get people to join your groups, try to be polite and join a few other people’s groups, too. Most of the ones in the picture above, I’m in as a sign of support to a friend. I’m not very active on them. What do you think? Should I leave groups where I’m inactive?

When Friending, Add a Line or Two

facebook friend request

I like this, because it’s a personable approach and he namedrops Baratunde Thurston.

Stop Spamming Me

spammy spam

Friending me so you can invite me to your stupid teleseminars isn’t cool. It’s not good marketing. It’s not good business. The rules of permission marketing that exist in the regular email world apply doubly or triply to here.

Email Etiquette

If we don’t know each other well, don’t make your first message after friending me about your dumb product, service, or company. Try to be a human first. Try to share yourself in a way that I get to know you. Chances are, I might actually want to know about your whatever. But I don’t bombard you once you meet me. Why are you doing it to me?

Bonus: Power Move

Here’s a secret. My favorite Facebook feature is the Birthdays box:

birthday box

But here’s what I do. Some of those people I don’t know as closely, so I don’t wish them happy Birthday. I just let it go by. But for people I know, if I get a moment to check Facebook and see that it’s his or her birthday, I drop them a regular email wishing them the Happy Birthday. Why? Because it is that extra step that shows it’s not a robotic response within a closed platform.

Sometimes, if I’m feeling extra nice (or have 5 minutes), I surf, the funniest ecard site on the web (no relationship here, just a fact, jack!)

So what have I missed? What are your ideas? How would you advise folks not to be a jerk in Facebook? What’s your take on Poking? How do you decide what’s appropriate on that network?

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