August 20, 2013 By blogging

Facebook Etiquette for Baby-Boomers and Generation X

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Baby-Boomers and Generation X-ers – they are the parents and grandparents of members of the millennial generation, like myself. They are the people that taught us everything we know about manners and etiquette: always say please and thank you, don’t interrupt, elbows off the table, stand up straight, etc. They have passed on a lot of wisdom and have helped make us all better, more functioning members of society. Yet there is one area where I have noticed these two generations could use a crash-course in etiquette. I’m talking about social media, particularly Facebook.

Maybe its because social media is fairly new to them; they didn’t grow-up sharing their feelings on their Xanga or spending hours agonizing over the perfect quote to put in the “About Me” section of their Myspace profile. They never got the over-sharing out of their systems in their younger years, and they are making up for it now; often at the expense of loved ones. The whole world of social media is new to them and almost every single one of my friends has a cringe-worthy story of a parent or grandparent committing an over-share offense on Facebook.

In order to help the Boomers and Gen. X-ers better understand what is and is not appropriate for Facebook, I have put together a list of a few of the top offenses I have noticed from my Facebook friends of these generations and a little advice that will hopefully make Facebook more enjoyable for all parties involved.

Political/Controversial Posts 

When it comes to crimes of over-share, this should be a felony charge and it is probably the most prevalent offense committed by Boomers and Gen. X-ers.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good debate. Debates are the backbone of America’s democratic system, but your Facebook status just isn’t the place for them.

I’ve seen posts that literally have 50+ comments of people arguing back and forth. People post paragraphs of comments, passive aggressive “likes” run rampant, and at the end of the great debate the only thing accomplished is high blood pressure.

Politics is frustrating and emotions run high – that’s why they aren’t discussed at the dinner table and the same principle should be applied to Facebook. Channeling that would-be Facebook post into a letter to your congressman (or woman) will be much more effective than a Facebook rant about CO2 emissions or stricter gun laws; and you won’t see your number of “friends” decrease. Democracy wins and so do your Facebook friends. Everyone is happy.

Information About Their Children

I will give the Boomers and Gen X-ers a break on this one. As I get older and more of my friends start having kids, I’m also seeing this offense from some fellow Millennials, so maybe it’s a parent thing. Nonetheless, boundaries are needed. Below are a few guidelines to follow to avoid committing an over-share offense resulting in the embarrassment of a loved one:

-DO NOT post family nicknames on your status or your child/grandchild’s page. We know you are proud that your “little muffin top got her first big girl job!” But Little Muffin Top’s friends are friends with you on Facebook and being called “muffin top” as an adult isn’t as cute as it was when she was three. Keep it in the family.

-DO NOT post embarrassing photos because you think they are cute. I’ve started to notice that, thanks to people sharing their “Throwback Thursday” Instagrams on Facebook, more Boomers and Gen. X-ers have started to catch on to the trend. I appreciate the effort to become more social media savvy but be very careful with what pictures you “throwback” to. Do not let your love cloud your judgment. No one was cute in middle school and very few people want to relive their most painfully awkward years. Posting those middle school band pictures is an offense that is sure to put a strain on your relationship. Just say no.

-DO run any potential posts or pictures past your children/grandchildren. If you really want to post something but you aren’t sure if it will cause embarrassment (I know, young people can be so sensitive), run the post by them. It’s better to be safe than sorry and the Internet is forever. In the time it takes for your offended loved one to see the post and call and demand it be deleted; it is too late. You can delete the offending post but there is a good chance it has already been screen-shotted by a friend and made its way into a group text; where it will remain forever.

Yes, that is how fast communication travels in this new age of information. Please use responsibly.

Unless of course, you know exactly what you are doing and all of the embarrassment is payback for our adolescent years. In which case I would say, well played Boomers and Gen X-ers, well played.

Written by: Ahna Gavrelos