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Articles for Baby Boomers

15 Facebook Etiquette Tips Every Baby Boomer Should Know

Young people aren't the only ones writing on walls, updating their statuses and checking in wherever they go. The baby boomer generation has infiltrated Facebook, and their members are growing by the minute. These moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas use the social networking site for many of the same reasons young people use it they enjoy catching up with old friends, looking at photos and learning more about the people they meet. While we're glad baby boomers have decided to keep up with the times and participate in social networking, there are some basic ground rules that should be covered before they end up friendless. Here are 15 Facebook etiquette tips every baby boomer should know:


1. Don't embarrass your kids

It doesn't matter how old your kids are, they don't want to be embarrassed on Facebook by their mom or dad. Posting photos of Johnny from his little league years or Susie in braces is a definite no-no and surefire way to get defriended by your children. Instead of showing your kids how much you love them by writing mushy stuff on their walls, play it cool and send a private message, or better yet, give them a call.

2. Think before you post

It's easy to get carried away with commenting on walls, updating your status and posting gobs of pictures, but it's crucial that you watch what you post on Facebook. Depending on your privacy settings, virtually anyone can see what you've broadcasted to the world. Regardless of your age, offensive comments can get you in trouble with Facebook and possibly your job. So before you fire back at someone who doesn't share your views and say something you might regret, just hold back.

3. Don't befriend the whole world

Whether you use Facebook for business or pleasure, it's generally a good idea to use caution in adding just anyone on Facebook. Accepting any and all friend requests can put you at risk for unwanted invitations, comments, event notifications, chats and virtual harassment. It's perfectly acceptable to ignore a friend request from a complete stranger.
4. Stay under the radar

It's a good idea to stay under the radar on Facebook for professional purposes and as a safety precaution. It's fine to post things on your profile or other's walls, but you should be cautious about what kind of information and how much of it you are sharing with others. Never share personal information on your profile, such as your home address, telephone number, birth date and place, vacation plans or other personal details. Keeping a low profile will help you blend in better on Facebook and reduce the chances of identity theft or account impersonations.

5. Don't chat someone's ears off

Facebook chat is a fairly new feature that allows users to instant message their friends when they're online. Baby boomers who have never used AIM or another instant messaging program may go bonkers on Facebook chat. Just like you can go overboard with comments and status updates, the same can be said for Facebook chatting. Don't assume that every person who's signed on to Facebook wants to chat. If you do chat with friends, try not to talk their ears off and keep it quick.

6. Act your age

This is a rule all Facebook users should abide by. Baby boomers sometimes have a hard time acting their age on Facebook because youngsters make up the majority of Facebook users. Even if using Facebook makes you feel young and hip, doesn't mean you are. Reverting back to your college days and starting unnecessary drama, or posting inappropriate pictures to relive your glory days is a no-no. On the same note, just because you're over the hill doesn't mean you have to act like a senior citizen, either. Posting Medicare articles, signing each post as "Love, Mom", and telling old fart jokes are just as bad as acting like a teenager. Play it cool by acting your age.

7. Don't give TMI

Despite what you may have heard before, sharing isn't always caring when it comes to Facebook. Informing the world that you're having marital problems or a bad bout of hemorrhoids is NEVER a good idea. Not only is this way too much information, but it's also too personal for Facebook. If you've got a personal problem, don't announce it on Facebook talk to a friend!

8. When in doubt, send a message

As tempting as it is to write on your kids' walls to say how much you love them or share an embarrassing story with a friend on their wall, it's generally a good idea to send a private message instead of writing on walls. Conversations within Facebook messages are private, so you can share top secret news and contact information without the world seeing it too.

9. Say no to The Poke

The Poke button was an early Facebook feature that allows users to poke their crushes and engage in innocent virtual flirting. The Poke button has lost its luster over the past few years and has taken on a new level of creepiness. As newcomers, baby boomers should know that poking a stranger is a major no-no. You should also refrain from poking your kids' friends, bosses or anyone else that might get the wrong idea about your poke. If you have to think about how they'll react, then don't hit that button.

10. Tag with caution

Photos are what make Facebook so fun. It's great to see baby boomers taking advantage of this feature, but there are some definite dos and don'ts when creating photo albums. Before you start uploading photos and tagging all of your friends, you should consider the fact that they may not want to be tagged in your photos, especially if it's an inappropriate or unflattering picture. If there's any doubt as to whether or not they'd want to be tagged, then leave it untagged and let them tag themselves.
11. Untag as needed

It's not bad etiquette to untag yourself in photos you don't like. Whether it's an old, embarrassing photo or just plain unflattering, you don't have to keep it on your profile for the world to see. But, remember that just because you've untagged yourself doesn't mean it has been deleted. If you want it off Facebook, you'll need to politely ask your friend to delete it from his or her album.

12. Avoid mundane status updates

There are few things more annoying on Facebook than compulsive and mundane status updates. Most people don't care that you just ate cereal, brushed your teeth and are heading to work. Broadcasting daily routines and mundane stories is not necessary and no one wants to hear every detail of your life. Leave your status updates for funny, interesting or thoughtful pieces of information.

13. Don't fish for attention

Facebook is filled with attention seekers, but you don't have to be one of them. These people find every opportunity to draw attention and get a reaction out of their friends, whether it's positive or not. To avoid getting this reputation on Facebook, avoid posting "look at me" pictures, or posts that come off as fishing for compliments or responses. It's ok to share good and bad news to inform others, but don't post this information if you're just looking for attention.

14. Don't spam your friends

Facebook has gobs of games, events, groups, quizzes and applications that you might find interesting or fun, but that does not mean others will feel the same. Baby boomers have a track record of sending pointless chain emails and spam messages to friends and family, and take their bad habit to Facebook. Most people don't have the time or interest in playing Mafia Wars or taking the 'Which Sex and the City Character Are You?' quiz. Just don't clog your friends' inboxes with spam invites that they may or may not read.
15. Don't stalk people's profiles

It's great that you want to stay up to date with your kids, friends or coworkers on Facebook, but every baby boomer should know the line between everyday use and creeping. Facebook stalking is not OK, nor should you admit to doing it if asked. You might find yourself perusing the same interesting person's profile every day or two, but, under no circumstances should you go as far as to obsessively write on their wall, memorize their album names or befriend all of their friends even if they're complete strangers. Simple rule: Don't creep out people on Facebook and they'll keep you as a friend.

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