FB relationship etiquette

Advertising a failed relationship on social media is a bad idea. There are some things that are best left private. We jot down some FB relationship etiquette.

Anindita Datta Choudhury Anindita Datta Choudhury
अगस्त 18, 2011

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:

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.


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