Facebook Relationship Rules


In the 2012 issue of Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Erin M. Bryant and Jennifer Marmo wrote an article entitled, “The rules of Facebook friendship: A two-stage examination of interaction rules in close, casual, and acquaintance friendships.”  They reviewed literature on Facebook, computer-mediated communication theory, and general work on relationships and developed a list of rules for Facebook friends.  After checking the validity of their list with over 800 people, they settled on the following list of 36 Rules of Facebook Friendship.  (There’s other cool stuff about how the list is divided up and highlights various relational motivations, but that is for another time.)  Here are the rules … what do you think?  Would you add anything?

  1. Project yourself in a manner others would want to be associated with.
  2. Don’t post anything that will hurt a friend’s image.
  3. Don’t post anything that will hurt a friend’s career.
  4. Don’t post anything that will hurt a friend’s relationships.
  5. Respond immediately when someone leaves you a Facebook message.
  6. Expect an immediate response from others when you post on their profiles.
  7. Use privacy settings to control each friend’s level of access to your profile.
  8. Share information with close friends before posting it on Facebook.
  9. Delete or block anyone who posts something that compromises your image.
  10. Apply offline social rules to your Facebook interactions.
  11. Be aware that not everyone is honest while on Facebook.
  12. Use common sense in your Facebook interactions.
  13. Monitor your photos to make sure they are flattering.
  14. Always present yourself positively but honestly on Facebook.
  15. Know that all of your friends can potentially affect your Facebook image.
  16. Use Facebook to maintain your relationships.
  17. Use Facebook to communicate happy birthday with friends.
  18. Wish your close friend happy birthday in some way other than Facebook.
  19. Use Facebook to learn more about people you are just getting to know.
  20. Respect your friends’ time by not posting excess information on Facebook.
  21. Meet new people by adding your close friends’ contacts as your own friends.
  22. Only write on a friend’s wall if you are actually friends with them offline.
  23. Only send a friend a private message if you are actually friends with them offline.
  24. Only comment on a friend’s photos if you are actually friends with them offline.
  25. Only use Facebook chat with people you are actually friends with them offline.
  26. Communicate with your good friends using other methods besides Facebook.
  27. Don’t add someone as a Facebook friend unless you meet them offline first.
  28. Always realize that Facebook can expose lies you have told people.
  29. Remember information a friend posts about you can have real world consequences.
  30. If a friend deletes or untags themself from a photo or post, do not repost it.
  31. If you are ignoring someone’s message, do not commit other Facebook behaviors that will reveal you were on Facebook.
  32. Do not spend time trying to guess a friend’s motives for Facebook behaviors.
  33. Do not confront anyone using a public component of Facebook.
  34. Do not say anything disrespectful about someone on Facebook.
  35. Do not let Facebook use interfere with getting your work done.
  36. Do not post information on Facebook that could be used against you.
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3 Comments

Filed under Reflections

3 responses to “Facebook Relationship Rules

  1. I was happy to see the rule about applying “offline” rules in online relationships. We often forget that there are people attached to their profiles. If we remembered, we’d probably all treat each other better!

  2. “Use Facebook to learn more about people you are just getting to know.”

    Caveat: don’t let this outpace a normal amount of information gathering. E.g. “Hi! This is our first date and I already know where you went to school, the names of your friends, what movies you Like, and what level of Candy Crush you’re stuck on.” CONVERSATION OVER.

    ALSO, CREEPER.

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