Kent Bush: Suggestions for Facebook code of conduct
With a new movie coming out about its creation and founder, Facebook is in the news more than normal. With more than 500 million active users, the social networking super-site affects lives in a unique and profound way.
Many report leaving the social networking site because it is addictive and time-wasting or shallow and non-creative or leads to identity theft or other privacy concerns.
But far more join every day than leave. You don't get to 500 millions users because of a mass exodus.
I have friends on Facebook. Kansas friends, Oklahoma friends, friends from high school and college, and family members are all listed on my "friends" list. We get a surreal and voyeuristic enjoyment in seeing people at parties, watching their kids grow up in photos, and knowing when something good or bad comes into their lives. I even enjoy it when one of my friends puts something in a status update that their kids said or did, or even something they found amusing during their day.
Those are the reasons Facebook has gained enormous popularity over the years.
I can relate to those who lose interest in the site. But they shouldn't give up on the entire site just because of a few bad eggs.
We just need some Facebook rules.
Here are some of my suggestions for the Facebook code of conduct.
• Don't post "(Your name here) is sad" or "can't believe this happened." This brand of post shows your emotional exiguity and begs people to ask "what's wrong" or "what happened" just so you can say something like "I can't talk about it right now" or "I'd rather not say." I might give someone a single chance to fail in this area. After that, they get hidden - a kind of Facebook Purgatory where we are still "friends," but I don't have to see their ridiculous posts.
• Never ever post anything to your status that says, "If you have a great (fill in the blank) then post this to your status." None of us care if you love your daughter or think that your husband is great. I don't mean to stereotype, but women tend to be the most frequent offenders of this section. In a similar vein, keeping a status update about wanting a cure for cancer going by putting it as your status update won't get Congress to increase funding for cancer research even a penny. So save us all of the trouble and leave your status blank.
• Don't update your status constantly with different versions of the same post. Yes, we all know that you can't wait until it's Friday. We all share that feeling to some degree. But do you really have to start posting that on Sunday night and in some form or another every day thereafter? And, speaking of Sunday night, we know the weekend is over. We all know where it went, so we would like you to think that comment instead of typing it in your status. We also don't want an update on every hand of poker you play or how far you ran or how long you worked out. If you do something unique or reach a goal, feel free to share. I think I speak for a majority of your friends when I say we don't care if you walk 14 blocks every Tuesday and Thursday.
• Quit posting about being sick all the time - even if you are. Look at your profile. If more than half of the posts mention a physical ailment, the chances are all of your friends are sick of you and you are probably hidden. Maybe Facebook can add a hospital ward and we can vote to put you in it until your status virtually recovers.
• Stop going to websites for a joke of the day and then posting it on your status in the form of "I was just thinking. Where did Noah keep woodpeckers on the ark?" You see, the people who accepted your friend request are either related to you, work with you or went to school with you. We know when you have an original thought. You aren't clever. Otherwise you would have a smarter group of friends on Facebook.
This would be a pretty good start for a code of conduct that would help me enjoy Facebook more. Are there more suggestions out there?
We could be helping Mark Zuckerberg make his next billion dollars. Wouldn't that warm your heart?
Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.