Rules For Engagement on Facebook
By Rebecca K. Abma
Hot-button topics bring heated Facebook debates, and all of
the local boards have been abuzz in conflict of late. Here are some suggestions
for keeping cool as things heat up on the internet:
Be polite. We teach our kids manners and should try to follow the same. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it on Facebook.
Use “I” statements. If you’ve ever gone to couple’s counseling or conflict resolution seminar, you know to speak for yourself only. “I think,” “I feel,” “As I understand,” are better ways to get your message across.
Don’t make accusations. Aside from sounding like a jerk in a public forum, you can be sued for defamation of character or liable for posts made on Facebook.
Don’t take it personally. If you don’t like what someone has to say, don’t listen. You don’t have to leave Facebook or exit a group to turn off the noise. If you don’t like the way a conversation is going, hide the thread. If you don’t like a certain person in a group, block the person. (See Extra Help, below)
Don’t create a fake profile. We are a small town and everyone knows everyone. And everyone has their own writing style. So that means it won’t take long for people to put two and two together. If you get pegged as a fake profile, expect to be mocked.
Need some pointers on navigating Facebook tools? Here's some extra help:
To hide a thread from showing up on your news feed, click on the upside down caret and select hide. If you have already commented on a post in a group and do not want to keep getting updates, select unfollow.
To block a person, go to their Timeline page. Click on the gear symbol on the right side of the Timeline cover photo. Select Report/Block. A box will appear to give you the options to Block This Person, Report This Person or Reclaim a profile as yours. By selecting Block, you will not be able to see or contact the other person.
To unblock someone, go to the lock symbol at the top right of your own profile, and select “See More Settings.” On the left, under Privacy, select Blocking. You will see the names of people who are blocked. Select unblock.
Do you have other tips for productive Facebook discussion? Tell Us in the comments.