It’s all too easy to forget how public your Facebook profile really is. Sure, it might seem like you’re sharing that snapshot of dessert (“Mmmm!”) or your latest random rant (“Can’t take this anymore!”) with only your close-knit circle of Facebook pals, but don’t forget about their friends, and their friends…
The bottom line? What might’ve looked cute in the pages of your private journal could be a one-way ticket to Tacky Town on Facebook.
Need some examples of things to avoid? Let’s start with…
1. Photos of everything you eat
Pictures of your breakfast, lunch and dinner are not for Facebook—and if you must post an update about your latest meal, make sure it’s witty, informative, funny, purposeful, or at least … well, something.
A photo of your morning coffee, sans commentary, simply doesn’t make the cut, even if it has a heart-shaped dash of foam.
2. Too-frequent changes to your relationship status…
…particularly if you’re only doing it because you’re mad at a special someone.
A real breakup is one thing, but if you’re constantly changing your status to send a message to your significant other, you’ll be also be sending a message—a rather unflattering one, actually—to dozens, hundreds, or even (gulp) thousands of annoyed Facebook friends.
3. Group photos of your feet in a circle
Yes, I know, it’s the latest trend on Facebook—and sure, it’s fun to show off your cute new Manolos. But most of the time, all we see are sausage toes and chipped polish. Enough is enough.
4. Cryptic messages that fish for replies (e.g. “I AM IN SHOCK”)
It elicits more eye rolls than comments and sets you up to be the boy (or girl) who cried wolf.
5. An emoticon as a condolence for a grieving Facebook friend
A simple “:(” just isn’t the most thoughtful way to pay your respects.
6. Hackneyed, overused Internet slang…
…like “LOL” (Laughing Out Loud) and “LMAO” (Laughing My A** Off). “LOL” once too often, and don’t be surprised if your friends start unsubscribing from your posts and comments.
7. Too many photos in which you’re clearly tipsy
I love a great happy hour as much as the next person, but please, take another look at your photo albums.
If you see too many snapshots where you’re holding a lime wedge, wearing a crown, or carrying your shoes, go ahead and start deleting or de-tagging.
You don’t need your godparents and elementary school teachers getting the play-by-play of your Cinco de Mayo.
8. Ultra-personal diary entries
Always ask yourself: do you really want to announce that super-secret thought or deep, dark confession to all your friends, family, and co-workers on Facebook?
Sure, you can always delete a post later—but when it comes to Facebook, “later” is almost always too late.
9. Guilt trips about your latest cause.
Activism is everywhere on Facebook, and if you want to turn your Timeline into a virtual soapbox or create a page for your favorite cause, more power to you.
But writing something along the lines of “I know 97% of you won’t repost this, but my real friends will” isn’t so much convincing as it is manipulative and obnoxious.
10. Cell-phone photos of yourself pouting in a mirror
These self-shots may look like art to you, but all everyone else sees is someone standing alone in a badly-lit bathroom taking photos of themselves.
Even worse, your more revealing photo shoots may wind up in the seedier corners of the Internet—and good luck trying to take them down. Just don’t do it.
Guest writer Caroline Weller is an associate news editor at The Huffington Post, a marathon finisher, and a dedicated online shopper.