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Big news should be shared personally, not on Facebook

Some news just shouldn't be seen first on Facebook.

Your mom got engaged. Your daughter is moving to another state. Your niece is pregnant.

When I come across stories of people discovering huge news about close family members and friends on Facebook, it shocks me. You might think those examples must be unique cases of someone with poor manners, or an estranged relationship. But they aren't.

I asked my social networks about this topic and some shared eye-opening examples of best friends and close family breaking news -- mostly involving moving and engagement -- in a status message instead of picking up a phone.

To those who are guilty of doing this, your argument could be that Facebook is designed to find out what your friends are up to, and the tool makes it a convenient way to spread news about life changes in a time-crunched world.

I agree that Facebook is a fantastic tool for announcing news to your friends. And I've learned about friends getting engaged or having a baby on there -- but it's never someone who is exceptionally close to me.

Your best friends, parents, siblings and other close relatives should not be treated the same as the other 500 acquaintances on your social network. Posting that news on a status message tells them they are no different than anyone else.

A Twitter user shared a story with me about finding out about her best friend's engagement from a blog post. She said the friendship fell apart after the hurt feelings.

Technology can make us lazy in our communication skills, especially for those hooked on updating Facebook frequently. That said, it's sad for a friendship to be demolished because of a mindless faux pas. If it happened to me, I'd be very hurt, but I'd also let that person know that I would rather not learn about big news that way.

The majority of our time online is spent on social networks. According to Nielsen, social networks take up 22.7 percent of the time spent online, compared to 15.8 percent last year.

Because of that, you can't assume everyone treats social media the same way you do. Many of the examples I heard came from parents of 20-something-year-olds. Younger people have grown up using Facebook and texting as primary communication tools. But we shouldn't let it be the primary tool in every circumstance.

I've also seen drama unfold over news that isn't as big as marriage. One out-of-town user was hit with comments like, ``Why didn't you tell me you were back in Miami?'' after posting a status message about having lunch nearby. Needless to say, it's an awkward moment that could have been avoided with a quick text message to close friends -- or privacy settings to block unwanted people from knowing.

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I learned that a very old friend had a surprise wedding that way. No actually, I got a text about 3 seconds before she posted it on Facebook but since I was on FB, I saw it there first. The biggest problem I have with this is I'm planning my wedding and she and I have been talking weddings for months now. Hers was supposed to be in a few years after she finished law school. Talk about hurt feelings! I certainly wasn't the only one as an even older friend found out the same way. It's definitely put a strain on our friendships and now it's almost like "why am I sharing with her?" if she didn't return the same courtesy.

This is just another example of how things like facebook is skewing what constitutes actual communication in relationships. At least that is my opinion. I happened to make this mistake about a year and a half ago when I was just starting out on facebook- I made a status update about my daughter learning how to tie her own shoes- I was a proud mom...and then a few hours later I got an angry call from grandma as to why she wasn't called with such big news, but read it on her facebook page...well, I learned my lesson. And as far as the "friends" that post stuff on facebook, or in particular a friend I used to be much closer to, pretty much the only way to get a hold of her is to send her a message on FB or write on her walll, as that is now pretty much the only way she communicates....I personally think that is very sad, and is a way to avoid real communication and relationships...oh well.

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