Follow these simple guidelines and we're bound to have a kinder, gentler Facebook experience for the new year!
1. No More Passive-Aggressive Posts. If you have a problem with someone, calling them out on Facebook is the cowardly way to go. It's the lamest way to deal with the situation. Do you want that person to see the post? If so, why not go directly to the person to talk about why you're angry. Save the name-calling for your diary.
2. No More Hijacking Threads. So, Sally Sue posts something about her mom's delicious Christmas brownie recipe. That isn't your opportunity to drop the F-bomb about the effin' dingbat liberals or the effin' wing-nut conservatives. Let's all agree to stay on subject, and should you decide to deviate and the owner of the page removes the thread, it's his or her wall and it's your fault I didn't get the brownie recipe not Congress'.
3. Let's Not Propagate the Cocktail of the Hour. Phil Robertson, Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians, etc. There are three sides to every story — yours, mine and the truth. You don't know the whole story and you don't know any of these people personally. We're oiling the numb machine when we become chatty about controversial figures and we get away from exchanging intelligent ideas. These figures also polarize us and we don't need more division. There's always going to be a new cocktail around the corner, so my advice is: Don't be an alcoholic. Be mindful of the vitriol you post and if you feel you need to stand up for somebody's honor while putting down the opposing view, then your next post should be counterbalanced with an adorable kitten purring or a funny dumb dog getting hit in the head with a Frisbee.
4. No More "No Such Thing as a Free Lunch Post." My choice to share — or not — an eloquent analogy or affirmation or a photo of a troubled soul is no reason to call into question my character. Let's make a deal: I won't judge you if you don't share my posts, and you won't judge me if I don't share yours. A really moving post is devalued when it ends with something like, "Now, I know only my real friends will share this post (and you know who you are)." Worse: "Like this post in the next 15 minutes or else a witch will turn you into a newt." Your post has so much more impact if you just give us the choice to share on our own without issuing an ultimatum.
5. And Speaking of Lunch. Wow, that half-eaten plate of meat-and-sauce smears really does look appetizing. … Not! There's a thick line between photos of when it first came out of the oven to whatever's left of what you couldn't cram down your gullet. It's just gross, people, and you don't get a medal for feeding yourself. May I suggest, like, maybe just one or two bites and then snap the photo? Then your amazing meal looks like the cover of Bon Appétit as opposed to a dirty baby diaper.
6. And Speaking of Gross. This is a tough one. I know there are a lot of atrocities in the world, but there also are a lot of choices in thumbnail photos. If there's a cause in your heart such as genocide or some type of crazy disease or animal cruelty, don't lead with the most disturbing photo. Tone it down because some people cruising the news feed just can't handle it. I know you mean to disturb because these things are disturbing, but you might get more results by being creative as opposed to overt.
7. Spoiler Alert! My wife and I are binge watching "Lost" for the first time. We're enraptured by it. For us it's one of the best shows we've ever watched and I'm so glad it is passé because I've seen so many finales ruined by Facebook. "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "The Sopranos" and "Boardwalk Empire" all were spoiled by fans who decided their posts were more important than allowing someone else to enjoy the show's arc. Great news! Society has agreed on something, and it's called "Spoiler alert." Use it so we can enjoy the same joy or disappointment you got to experience.
8. Lastly, Just Think Before You Post. What is your Facebook page for, anyway? What are you really trying to get across? Who do you want us to think you are and is it really coming through with your posts or what you share? If you ask these questions you may surprise yourself by how many things you decide not to post or how many posts you decide to do differently. A lot of people are not down with the electronic age of communication, but it is communication. We're speaking with each other. Our posts are being read by human beings, so maybe if we all put more thought into what we post, we can raise the bar instead of lowering it. Let's take better care of each other. Be a little more considerate and maybe, just maybe, we can all enjoy Facebook a whole lot more in 2014. S
BJ Kocen is co-owner of glavé kocen gallery and a musician.
Opinions on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.