EASY FACEBOOK ETIQUETTE: How to Get Along in the Neighborhood

Yesterday I created a meme for my blog, which I shared on Facebook (the meme).  Within five minutes I got a “your opinion is wrong” comment on the meme.  In spite of my response asking, basically, that people ‘agree to disagree politely’ the comments went from there, including this one:
“And I don’t think it’s right for someone to post something and not to expect someone to disagree, ESP(ECIALLY) with a huge list of friends that they don’t really know.  Hey, it’s a free country for a while, right?”  
                                                         (the Facebook post and it’s comments)
I would be an absolute fool if I didn’t expect people to disagree with me.  My issue is not in the fact that they disagree, it is how they go about it.  In this free country, we all voice our opinions in different ways.  Not all of them spark debates or arguments, either.  If you wear a cross or a Star of David around your neck, you are making a statement of your beliefs –a VISIBLE, PUBLIC statement of beliefs—yet no one would condone an Atheist running up to you and ripping the cross or star off of your neck in “disagreement”.  Think about it.  There’s “disagreement” and there’s “argumentative action”.

Here is a hopefully easy-to-understand idea of Facebook etiquette.  If we can all adhere to this, then maybe we can all get along here (or on any other social networking site):

FACEBOOK – Your neighborhood
YOUR PROFILE PAGE – Your house in the neighborhood
OTHER PROFILE PAGES – Your neighbors’ houses (whether you know them or not)
NEWSFEED – The street with all the houses on it

Pretend it is an election month in your neighborhood (Facebookland).  You put out a “Tastes Great” sign on your front yard (your profile page/wall).  Your neighbor puts out a “Less Filling” sign on his front yard (his profile page/wall).  The person in the next house down—who you don’t really know—puts out a sign that says “Where’s the Beef?” on his front yard (his profile page/wall).  Three different signs on three different front lawns, right next to each other.  These neighbors have to walk down to their mailboxes to get their mail and are able to see the signs on the lawns, yet are STILL able to say “Good Morning” to each other, even though each are putting up signs that offer different and conflicting opinions.  And none of them would dream of taking their own sign and putting it up on someone else’s lawn.

Then someone comes driving down the street (scrolling the news feed) and is able to see all the signs on each person’s front lawn (profile page/wall).  They are not going to get out of their car and deface the signs they don’t like with a can of spray paint (put a hateful, mean or argumentative comment on someone else’s post), they are just going to DRIVE BY IT (IGNORE).  If they agree with the sign, they may wave to the homeowner (“Like” the post), or even invite themselves over for coffee (comment, “I like that”).  This is how people with different views live together in the same neighborhood without killing each other.

If we can understand this ‘neighborhood etiquette’ concept, maybe we can apply it to Facebook.  And maybe we can also learn to allow other people to have their own differing opinions and still respect them as human beings.

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