Is your personal life on Facebook?

Have you forgotten your FB manners? 


Forgotten your FB manners?


WHILE SUPPORT for Anna Hazare pours in on Facebook and Twitter at the speed of light, and the government plans to snoop on our Facebook accounts to check for anti-social activities, on the other side of the globe, teenagers in Boston are being educated about how to break up with dignity on Facebook.

Social media websites can spark revolutions and bring down governments and at the same time enable you to peek into the life of a former love interest and ruin his/her image. A post on Facebook or Twitter can have several social and political implications. To quote cyber law expert Pavan Duggal, “It is a potent game changer in our lives.” But is the iPad/ Blackberry/ Android generation really ready to handle social media – the platform and huge database of information it offers? “ It is a mixed bag. While there are youngsters who are out there making good use of the Internet, there are others who are not able to handle social media with maturity. It is hard to make a sweeping generalisation and say that youngsters are abusing the Internet.

What’s true is that today’s youth is alive to the power of social media and is ready to ride the tiger without realising the consequences,” says Duggal. He adds that five to six out of ten youngsters won’t think twice before doing something impulsively on a social networking website.

“There have been wake up calls. But they have been few and far in between. A lot of awareness and education is required for youngsters using the Internet. The government should include social media in the school curriculum. But unfortunately it is not a priority area for the government,” he says.

So when a clueless mouse-happy generation goes about posting objectionable pictures, taking zero-IQ quizzes, snooping on an ex’s profile and breaking up with lovers, there is a need of a code of etiquette that should be followed. We list some of them:

UNFRIEND


WHEN Femail Magazine carried an article on whether it is ethical to snoop on your ex’s Facebook profile, a reader wrote: “I was in a serious relationship for about a three-and-a-half years.

We had a sour break-up which left me feeling empty, but now I’m all upbeat to carry on with my life. My ex-girlfriend and I are on FB, but instead of snooping into each others’ lives we opted not to have any connections at all ever again. We have blocked and ignored each other since the time we had a break-up... and also we have made sure we don’t have any mutual friends, so we both remain away from what’s happening in our life or any updates about one another.” Besides blocking out the past, the unfriend application on FB can be put to some good use. A six-monthly friend filter procedure won’t do you any harm. You might have added some unwanted people to your friends list. You won’t regret the cleansing ritual.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS


THERE may not be a survey for this, but a change in the relationship status invites the maximum number of comments within an hour of posting it. It is the best way to attract attention. The relationship status platter on Facebook is full of choices – single, in a relationship, engaged, married, it’s complicated, open relationship, divorced and separated.

But just one word of advice — before advertising your relationship status and inviting a flurry of comments, consult your partner (or ex in case you want to go from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’) first. It should really come as a shock to him/ her.

NOT COOCHY-COO WALL


LOVE is no longer private. Sure our sensor board has no problems with kissing scenes. In fact with shows like Bigg Boss topping charts, voyeurism has reached its peak. But public displays of affection, and paeans of love on the Facebook Wall of your beloved is a bit too much to handle.

Posts that rightfully belong to the private message column are out for the whole world to read. “ It is a distraction and is pretty embarrassing. I often feel, how could I be friends with such filmi lovebirds? But that’s how some people are,” says Ankit Khurana, 34, businessman.

“We know you are in love, but at least have the discretion of letting some things be private,” he adds. Just a suggestion, learn the difference between a Facebook Wall and a message and save the coochy- cooing for the latter. No one is interested on how much you miss or love your ‘baby’. FB BREAK- UP HOW much courage do you really need to face your love interest (in whom you have lost interest) and talk out your differences and have an amicable break up? What’s disturbing is that there is a race among boys and girls as to who announces the break- up by changing his/her relationship status to single on Facebook. Yes it is lethal, quick and simple. A write-up on Gawker.com actually gives detailed guidelines as to how we can break up on Facebook, with minimum time, mouseclicks and keystrokes.

Maybe a mature break-up is too much to ask for in the age of FB but do youngsters realise the aftermath of sleeping, eating and breathing in a virtual world? However, there is a silver lining. The group of teenagers from Boston who were educated about how not to break up on FB, were told to face it, don't Facebook it.

PEEK A BOO

Your ex's profile on Facebook is like the most exquisite chocolate lying right in front uneaten and unattended. It’s as addictive as chocolate too. Never mind the bad similie but isn’t it true that you’re always tempted to peek into your ex's life? A survey has revealed that 40 per cent of women between the ages of 18 and 54 use Facebook to track their exes. But its not just women — men too admit that they do not block their exes and like to peek into their profiles every now and then.

“Facebook is a great way to maintain a link with your former love interest,” explains Dr Gitanjali Sharma, marriage and family counsellor.

“Everyday we get cases wherein people have rekindled old flames and started an affair with an ex all over again,” she says.

Once, a seven-month pregnant woman met Sharma saying that her husband was having an affair with his much-married ex-girlfreind in Canada. “They had got in touch with each other on Facebook and everyday they chatted over the Internet once the woman was asleep,” says Sharma.

PICTURE IMPERFECT

WE have forgotten how nice it used to feel to flip through the pages of an old moth- eaten album. The digital era offers us hundreds of pictures at a click.

They can be instantly uploaded on to a virtual album on a social networking website without the hassles of developing a reel of film and waiting for a day to get, say, just 36 photos.

No wonder we now have our entire life chronicled on Facebook.

But there’s a darker side to these quick uploads. Dr Sharma tells us about a teenage girl whose boyfriend posted her objectionable pictures on Facebook. “ It is a common practice among jilted lovers. Their value system goes for a toss,” says Dr Sharma.

Then there is the ‘tag phenomena’. Before tagging pictures of your best friend with her boyfriend, do them a favour — ask them first.

And with so much happening, parents too are lurking on Facebook, if only to spy on their children.

ADDICTED TO FB


FACEBOOK boasts of 25 million users in India and the average time Indians spend on the website is three hours a month. It lets you be witty and cool through status messages.

It allows you to spy on profiles.

It gives you a huge database of zero- IQ games to choose from. But this hobby soon turns into an addiction. There are compulsive status message addicts, who post a status message every hour and invite 20 comments and 50 likes.

When they can’t think of a status message witty enough, they simply write about their lunch.

Then there are the photo addicts and the game addicts. There are some who scoot for quizzes on Facebook and have no qualms putting up the result on their walls, no matter how embarrassing. So the whole world comes to know what kind of a kisser he/ or she is or her friend is. This is definitely not healthy. Facebook is fun but don't let it rule your life. It is just a website.