Facebook is a theater and whether you acknowledge it or not, you’re playing a role. Many marketeers will tell you it’s better to know the rules of social media to get the best of it, but we do not all have something to sell here, even if we are certainly being sold.
You might say “I don’t care” or “I don’t do anything on Facebook anyway”, but the fact that you kept an account active means you’re playing it. Even if playing it means taking no action. And don’t tell me you never asked yourself “what am I doing here?”.
That last question, which mainly brings discomfort and awkwardness but rarely account deletion, can be answered by setting yourself a set of rules of play. Again, self-promoters and product sellers have obvious ones. But for the benefit of all, I encourage everybody to write their own and to try to stick to it.
Why? Because Facebook is changing fast and it drives us to different actions and reactions with it. By setting our own rules of play, we can have a frame through which we can analyse those changes and decide what to make of it. As an example, here are the ones I’ve been sticking to for a while now to the best of my abilities:
- Accept any friend request (except from click farms and underage).
- Accept all events invitations.
- Accept any page suggestion but unfollow it immediately afterwards.
- Never leave a conversation. Mute it instead.
- Never post pictures of friends or family and never tag anyone in a photo.
- Never accept or send game invitations.
- Never publish anything that I don’t consider public.
And, of course, lately, I added “never like anything anymore” but only use the [loveMachine] for it.
Maybe for most of you these rules will make no sense at all, but just stop for a moment and reflect on the unspoken ones you’ve been setting yourself to. What are your Facebook morals? Where do you draw the line? What role are you playing?
Better play than being played.
Don’t let Facebook set all the rules.
PS: If you share your own rules of play somewhere, please drop a link to it in the comments.
Illustration for this article is taken from the Facebook Board Game by Pat C. Klein.