Or, online ettiquette instruction manual for real humans
These days, pretty much everything comes with an instruction manual. Whether it’s a state-of-the-art computer or a fork – you’re likely to be given some guidelines for use. But when we venture out onto the interwebs, there’s no manual. You kind of have to work it out as you go. And it still amazes me how many people just don’t get it. Or rather, they have the internet etiquette understanding of a piece of earwax. Especially in Facebook groups. I see so many people blundering and stumbling about The Facebook like a drunk person at a party. Shouting loudly about their awesomeness, knocking over the virtual nibbles table and weeing in the virtual punch. So in this post, I’m going to share my top 19 Facebook group bad behaviours as a cautionary tale. This started as a 10 things post but increased to 19. Honestly I could have kept going for a lot longer but I have mouths to feed.
P.s. Before we get stuck in I fully admit to doing some, if not all, of the things on this list. Do as I say, not as I do. P.P.S. If you like this post you might also like my post 14 things not to do on LinkedIn
1. ADMIN DELETE IF NOT ALOUD
“Hey Admin – delete if not aloud(sic). I just wanted to share my amazing new way to earn money from your home. I earned $248,881 just yesterday, all while sitting on the loo. Thanks Barbara”
Barbara knows that if she has to write ‘admin delete if not allowed’ it’s not allowed. Barbara is relying on the fact that it’s 2am and no one else will be online to delete her post until at least 7am. Don’t be like Barbara.
Every time I see this – it makes my sphincter clench. (Which means I have a pretty tight sphincter – sorry TMI) Okay, I get you’re interested in the post, and it’s pretty quick and easy to type ‘F’ – but there’s this amazing little function called ‘turn on notifications’. This stops every other person in the thread being notified by your F. And stops everyone being F’ed off.
3. I WANT YOUR HONEST FEEDBACK
“Hi, my name is Sue and I just hand knitted this pair of underpants for my cat. Do you think the pattern is too garish?’
Sue doesn’t want your feedback. Sue is making a thinly veiled attempt to promote her new handmade CatPant business. If you do actually give Sue feedback, she’ll post an upset reply about how she stayed up all night making said cat pants, and that she only has one hand and her cat is dying. Then you’ll feel the worst human ever. Just say you like the bloody cat pants. Okay?
4. LET ME GOOGLE THAT FOR YOU
“Hi, does any one know what time it is?” “Hey chicks, can someone please tell me what month comes after May.”
I’m pretty sure these people know about The Google, but for some reason they refuse to use it. I generally send them here.
5. HEY HON, I’VE SENT YOU A PM
Bob wants a recommendation for an Otter tattooist. He posts in a group. Foolish Bob. Bob has received 1000s of personal messages. It’s not okay to PM people. I’m sure it breaches some unsolicited message legal ruling, but regardless it’s just as irritating as a rock in your sock. Whatever you want to say to Bob in private, you can say on the page. Psst: Extra points for using ‘hon’ – .
6. CAPTAIN IRRELEVANT
“Hi gang, I know this group is about lunchbox treats for kids, but I have this weird growth under my armpit and I thought I’d share a picture of it to see if anyone knew what it was. Thanks, Tony.”
Stick to the topic people. Some clues to help you will be:
- the name of the group
- the content of the pinned post
- every other post in the group
Tony, if you feel like straying from the point then look for a new group – or start your own Armpit growth group. I’m sure it would be as popular as this one (warning: not for the faint-hearted). P.S. Tony gets double FGD** points by asking for medical advice on Facebook. Take that lump to your doctor Tony. ** FGD = Facebook Group Dick
7. THE THIEF IN THE NIGHT
I know. I’m going to go into group A and ask a question. When the admin or the members have generously answered my question, I’m going to take their answer and post it somewhere else as a #BUSINESSTIP of the week. I see you idea stealer. I am watching. via GIPHY
8. I HAVEN’T READ THE OTHER RESPONSES BUT
“I know this post is actually from 1998 and 632 people have already given an answer, but I just thought I’d chip in and say EXACTLY THE SAME BLOODY THING AS EVERYONE ELSE.”
If you have nothing new to say, say nothing.
9. COMMENT WITH ‘WIGWAM’ IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE
“I’m making a new that will help you – would you like to receive a copy? Just post the word “Wigwam” in the comments below.”
Don’t use a Facebook group as a way to get opt ins for your crappy checklists. Use a crappy pop up box on your website like the rest of us.
“I’ve just launched a new course about and I’m looking for advice on how to get it out there. Thanks, Margery”
Ahh the classic promo hidden in a question. It’s so, so, erm.. ineffective. WE SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU Margery! You ain’t fooling anyone. If your best marketing technique is the oh-so-unsubtle questipromo, I fear you are not the marketing guru you claim to be.
11. THE MULTIGROUP POSTER
I get it. Repurposing your content is a great way to spread a little butter over lots of toast. But posting the same question in 18 groups is just plain annoying, and it’s likely that the same people are in all the groups. Don’t be a group whore. Pick a group and post your thing.
12. OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED
via GIPHY Janine is having a bad day. The tumble dryer is broken, the cat was sick in her handbag and she has an ingrown toenail. Janine just wants a bit of MF love people. A little bit of attention in this cold unyielding world of PAIN. So she posts an abstract attention-seeking cry for help. And she waits. Someone will bite. Someone will ask “What’s wrong, hon?” She just has to be patient. P.S. If you do ask what’s wrong. Janine will likely respond “I’d rather not discuss details.”
13. I’VE BEEN IN THIS GROUP FOR 18 YEARS AND NEVER CONTRIBUTED BUT I JUST WANTED TO SHARE
I don’t mind the odd lurker. We all join groups and either forget about them or lurk silently, just enjoying the content. But I can’t abide a lurkpromoer. Like little business meerkats, they keep to their burrows only to pop up and self promote. Then they disappear again. My advice? Don’t be a meerkat of promotion. Be a badger of involvement.
14. THE HIJACKER
“So I know Trisha was asking for help with her problem but could I just make this post all about ME?’
No, you can’t. Write your own goddam post.
15. THE ADDER
I’ve been added to this one group 6 times. I get added by my ‘friend’. I remove myself. She waits a few weeks and adds me again. I remove myself. It’s a strange little dance. Neither of us discusses it. It’s too awkward. I wonder how long it will go on?
16. WE ARE NOT FRIENDS
I just liked your post. That’s all. This does not mean you can send me a friend request. Do you make friends with people who brush past you in corridors? No you do not – seriously you don’t, do you? WE ARE NOT FRIENDS.
17. I KNOW I ASKED FOR ADVICE, BUT…
Clive asked for advice about how to build a website. Sue, Bob and Tony gave advice. Clive argues with Sue, disagrees with Bob and fights with Tony. Clive didn’t want advice. Why did Clive post?
18. F**K YOU ADMIN
“I know it’s your group. I know you have rules but I’m a rebel. I think outside the box, you can’t control me, I walk to the beat of my own drum.”
Translates as = I’m too lazy and selfish to read the pinned post/admin rules.
19. IT’S SIX LETTERS
There are lots of six-letter words I like. Wigwam Eggcup Spleen But my favourite is ‘Thanks’. It’s so easy to type. Try it now. Thanks. See? Easy. SO if you’ve asked for advice and people have helped you, take a nanosecond to type ‘THANKS’. via GIPHY
BONUS. BYE FELICIA*
“I’m so disappointed in this group and would like to tell you all that I’m leaving. Please react by begging me to stay. I’ll stay anyway, or re-join in a few days but I need you to all make me feel needed. Thanks Dorothy”
The exit is that way; don’t let the door hit you on the way out Dorothy.
What drives YOU crazy in Facebook groups? Please post in the comments below. Oh and if you like this post, please share and tell me your favourite Facebook flaw number.
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You might like my book ‘Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur | How to succeed despite yourself’ – buy it online here.
P.S. Big thanks to those who contributed ideas in my Facebook groups.
P.P.S. If you like this post you might also like my post 14 things not to do on LinkedIn
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* As an added bonus here are a few of my fave instructions.