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The Unknown Teenage Social Agenda of Facebook: Simple Things You Should Keep In Mind.

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Facebook. Most of us use it on a daily basis and we all interact with other people through it. However, did you ever give a thought as to what each action said?

In the world of Facebook, a 'wall to wall' conversation basically means that the social turf even. It goes back and forth. Keeping this rhythm shows a certain amount of consideration. However, commenting on a wall post usually is the subconscious desire to fill up ones own wall with as much as possible, making the other person have less on their own wall. Too much of this can lead to people thinking the wall owner is a "Facebook Abuser."

Ae recent features that's been added is the act of 'liking' a photo, which is basically putting one's own stamp of approval on the picture. While subtle, commenting it usually has more meaning and represents familiarity between the photo's owner and the commenter. Liking too many things lacks sincerity, so be careful what you like!

Making yourself online and available to chat using the basic (and kind of lame) instant messenger Facebook provides is keeping the door open for lines of communication between you and your friends. However, if one is available too much, it lessens the desire for someone to say, "Oh my god! This person is never on! I should say hello" and such. Basically, if you "flood the market" there really isn't much demand, is there? On the flip-side, remaining offline decreases socialization through instant messaging. That isn't bad; just a choice. A conversation through wall posts while both parties are available to chat instantly tends to represent lack of comfort, that is, unless both parties are extremely busy. So next time you want to talk to someone, check to see if they’re on the online chat. Another thing to keep in mind is that using the IM system would be not filling up the wall. Your wall is one of the most important things on your Facebook page, so keep any personal stuff off, or someone might just stumble upon it!

We were all new members to Facebook at some point, discovering its many wonders. New members to Facebook are great. But these new additions to the community, especially ones that haven't used a social networking site before, tend not to know the general unspoken rules about what is acceptable on Facebook, and what isn't. Commenting on everyone's pictures- even people who you do not know or are not friendly with isn't appreciated by most and is considered a little “weird”. Another move that isn’t widely accepted in any social situation, both on the internet and in real instances, is throwing your opinion in places where it isn't welcomed. Proceed with caution if you’re going to be making any bold statements! With that said, it’s safe to say that every so often, there comes a time where opinions clash. In my 2.5 years experience on one of the country’s biggest social networking sites, this tends to happen within photo comments; particularly on photos with many people tagged or controversial photos such as people smoking or drinking: commenting back and forth arguing about nonsense and at times, calling each other names or getting into arguments. Sometimes, even more people start to join in, creating a load of this "Facebook drama" If you want to avoid this the best thing to do is stay out of it! But how do these instances even occur? Tagging people is a way to label who and where each person is within a picture.

The concept seems awfully simple: labeling all of your friends in each picture so everyone knows who is who. However, someone, with a clever mind no doubt, decided to create a picture-graphic with little characters or symbols with a name underneath as "The Funny One" or "The Slow One. Once the picture is uploaded, the owner of the photo can tag their friends as each little character to represent these traits. I find it undeniably tacky. However, for the people who partake in these- be careful who you might offend. I myself, in one situation was tagged as, “Cutie Pie" and even though that's a compliment, I felt pretty offended based on the dude who it was coming from. There are also spin-offs of these, but it's all the same honest-to-goodness nonsense. If you partake in it, no problem! But think twice about who you’re tagging, and as what. You’ll never know who might have something to say about it.

Applications are the rankings, mini-programs and games that are made available for Facebook members. They vary from the popular MafiaWars to Farmville. Personally, these applications something I do my best and avoid. Things like 'Best Friend Contest' and 'Most Lovable Person' basically insist ranking or nominating friends in numerical order. It's like saying to your friend, "Hey I like you and everything but you only rank number five because I like these other four people ahead of you better." This kind of thing usually will end up making somebody hurt, even if you aren’t made aware. A specific kind of application is the quiz. You could probably end up spending hours with these. There's everything from "when will you get pregnant?" to "what's your ghetto nickname?" to "what is the first initial of the person you love?" Honestly, its all garbage, sometimes with numerous spelling errors that make you chuckle a bit. Some are fun, some are stupid. Like everything, it should be kept in moderation!

If you’re online all of the time, or constantly using applications and commenting things, people around you are bound to notice. Therefore, use, not abuse. The same can be said about Notes. This feature, called Notes, gives you the ability to type freely. People use this feature to fill out 'surveys' which basically ask you random and sometimes intruding questions about yourself. Most fill them out to procrastinate from homework, which tends to be the ultimate purpose of Facebook during the school year. After the note is completed, one has the ability to tag people that were mentioned within the note at some point. However, most end up tagging tons of people, in order to get some kind of comment on it. A note left uncommented is basically a slap in the face for the note-writer, in most cases. At other times, people post notes to vent. The note is of basic equivalence to a bulletin on MySpace.

One of the simplest concepts to understand on Facebook is the status update. Status messages usually start out with the word 'is.' For example, “Rachel IS doing her homework, and procrastinating online.” Some put random things in there, or a nice inspiring message. Some even see the blank space to put a quote from their favorite song in there. Originally, Facebook automatically inserted the word ‘is’ in the status message, but now, it’s just a blank spot. This decision was most likely made because one usually had to type in the third person in order for everything to sound correct.

A recent feature on Facebook has been video. You can upload videos, but you also have the ability to record a video directly onto another person’s wall, instead of leaving a text posting. Some tend to be obnoxious while others are sweet. Generally, leaving someone a video suggests a strong and high level of comfort between the video maker and the recipient. A constant issue with Facebook video is the, 'an error occurred' message when trying to post a video. Basically, this annoying message is equivalent to the red ring-of-death for Xbox players. One of the WORST feelings in the world is making a fantastic video for your friend only to find that an error occurred, and you have to start all over. It's almost as bad as being stabbed in the eyes. (Painful.)

Facebook "stalking" is something a lot of people tend to be accused of in conversation both online and off. Whether it be because you want to see if your crush is talking to other people, or because you have “no life” and watch over people's pages to see how socially-active they are within your network of friends, you might considered be a Facebook Stalker or abuser. If you find yourself constantly refreshing pages, seek help! If you make a reference to something on Facebook or that you saw on Facebook (not pertaining to you, but to someone else) during a general conversation outside of the internet world, someone might say, "Wow! You’re quite the Facebook stalker." If someone is accused of such a devious crime, the common response by most socially conscientious teens would most likely be, "It was just on my news feed, I happened to come across it." While that might be perfectly true, it’s a lame excuse, nonetheless. The news feed generally displays everything from videos left for others, who commented on what, and so on.

This isn't limited to Facebook, but internet etiquette as a whole. The way one types and conveys messages is how they present themselves to the world. Some teens from my generation feel the need to add extra letters to their words and use acronyms in order to look laid-back and cool. An example would be, "likeeee ofmg thatss prretty cool but idk if i can comee butt ill askk mi mom w/e" Another form of incorrect type would be the style of scattered capital and lower-case letters and numbers that vaguely pass as letters . This type of font l0oKs L1K3 Di5 nd iT iZ aNnoY1Nq 2 r34D. For most, this actually tends to take up more time to type and more time to decipher. CAPITALIZING EVERYTHING YOU WRITE USUALLY IMPLIES THAT YOU ARE YELLING. By no means does proper grammar need to be used, but making your type nice and clean (with the occasional acronym or two) and good-looking is always a plus.

Ultimately, the internet, and specifically Facebook, is a place of social gathering. While the site is not dealing with people face to face, it still contains real emotions behind every word written and a person behind the compute. So, put a little thought into everything you say, do, or click. One never knows who might be watching.



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This article has 7 comments. Post your own!

KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm:
Wow. I liked how you took a non-biased approach to Facebook and simply explained the rules and tips. That's good, as I'm sure this will help many people!
 
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Phantom_Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm:
Excellent article. I like how you aren't totally dissing facebook, just telling people to be careful.
 
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MarinaNicole said...
Jan. 6, 2010 at 9:00 pm:
I love your piece, but it's really scary to think about. Like, what a waste. We could be spending quality, un-simulated time with each other actually socializing but for some strange reason every single person I know seems to be obsessed with social networking sites. That's just me though. Whatever.
 
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sillyaardvarkabc said...
Jan. 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm:
Haha when you wrote in capitals, I yelled in my head! Good job, I don't have a FaceBook, but I'm getting one soon, this'll help.
 
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theflamingorange said...
Oct. 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm:
wow... i never knew...
 
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PrincessSonshu said...
Oct. 15, 2009 at 9:58 am:
Well said, enlightening!
 
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Emma P. said...
Oct. 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm:
Wow. This is really impressive. I liked it. =)
 
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