Did you know there are rules of etiquette on Facebook? Facebook is my happy place, and I like to try and make Facebook a positive environment when possible. So, when an online acquaintance posted a link to her own blog on my timeline (personal wall) I left her a short note saying that many people consider that kind of behavior to be spam and rather rude. Wasn’t upset, didn’t delete the post. It was a courtesy FYI one writer to another.
What would you do in that situation?
She argued with me that she wasn’t breaking any FB rules and therefore wasn’t spamming me. She’d written this blog post and thought I’d be interested in reading it. OK – sure. That happens. I have people I know do that. They send me a private message and often I’ll go and read the post in question. Totally OK. NOT OK to post it on my timeline cause it’s kinda like sliding a mss under the bathroom stall door to an agent. Is there a rule against it? Do we need rules for common sense? It certainly didn’t lead to a positive first impression.
This woman had previously force-added me to a promotional group twice (which I had removed myself from). Groups are great and you can set whatever rules you like, and this was one all about two or three people posting links to their online classes and blogs, but it’s better to invite not force-add. It wasn’t my cup of tea so I left. Force-adding people to groups they’re not interested in…a little annoying. Force-adding them twice — super not cool.
So, this exchange went on for a while. None of us were being rude or accusatory, we’ve all made social faux pas and were just trying to help. She didn’t see it as helping.
So – there are a couple of lessons here. First, Facebook etiquette isn’t exactly written down anywhere. There aren’t any FB rules to stop you from being annoying. Traditional marketing techniques, this whole – the more eyeballs the better mentality (Buy my book Buy my book Read my blog monologue) – is super annoying on social media. It takes the social out completely. Personal timelines are considered personal space. I don’t write on anyone’s personal timeline unless I know them face to face or it’s their birthday. I’m fairly flexible about people posting on my timeline, but when it’s clearly self-promotional — someone’s using my timeline to promote their own work — nuh uh.
Second, the Internet is forever. Took me… 1 minute to capture these screen shots. I wasn’t trying to be mean, I’m not writing this now to be vindictive. I see this ALL THE TIME and it’s a one-way ticket to the blocked senders list on Facebook. Most people won’t tolerate that behavior. If I’m having a jewelry party at my house, you wouldn’t show up and start handing out cards and free samples to your own handmade soap business unless you were invited to. Use common sense. If you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it on Facebook.
Third – unless you’re writing books on writing craft or doing classes for writers, writers shouldn’t be your main audience. Sure, writers read but there are more people who read and don’t write. Who cares if they only buy one book a year if it’s your book.
I want to help writers not sabotage themselves on Facebook, so I started a group here. This group is for writers who want to learn how to use Facebook and not spam people to build a healthy community or tribe. It’s a closed group so there’s a measure of privacy, but it means you’ll have to request to join. *psst – I’ll approve you.** I’ll post about updates and changes, and answer questions, but I really want this to be a safe place to ask questions and share experiences as well.
What do you think? Would this annoy you?
Been told you should learn Deep Point Of View? Had an editor or critique partner tell you to “go deeper” with the emotions in your fiction? Looking for a community of writers seeking to create emotional connections with readers? Check out the Free Resource Hub and then join the Going Deeper With Emotions In Fiction Facebook group.