Keeping it cool on Facebook

If Facebook were a country, it would be the fifth largest in the world. With that many people, you're bound to run into a few who are annoying. Our tech expert Darwyn Metzger has some advice on how you can avoid Facebook faux pas.

Over 500 million people have joined Facebook, and more than a few of them are jerks. Or, at least, they seem that way based on how they use, or misuse, the social networking site.

The biggest Facebook faux pas is T.M.I. - too much information. It's important to keep in mind that you aren't a 24/7 news channel. Your friends don't need to know everything about you every minute of every day. If you're enjoying a delicious submarine sandwich, do just that. But you don't need to tell everybody how much you're enjoying your submarine sandwich.

Another thing to keep to yourself are complaints about your friends, your family or your job. It's a given that someone who you don't want to see your rant will see it and there can be serious consequences. Remember, this is Facebook and word travels even faster online.

Photos are a great feature of Facebook, but that doesn't mean you should upload every picture you have. Some moments are best left private, especially considering how fast those photos can spread.

Another Facebook no-no is S.W.I. – surfing while intoxicated. Like drunk dialing, no good has ever come from mixing alcohol and machinery.

Your Facebook page reveals a lot about you - the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's Darwyn's strong recommendation not to become Facebook friends with anyone you work with unless you consider them a real friend outside the workplace. Mixing business with pleasure is always tricky, so don't bother going there on Facebook.

Facebook is a great way to keep up with old schoolmates and friends that time and circumstance have distanced from your life. But if you feel like you might be spending too much time online, consider this: A real friend is better than a Facebook friend. Spend more time taking care of your real friendships and your digital friendships will take care of themselves.

By the way, a growing number of college admission officers are viewing Facebook pages as part of their student evaluations. In one survey, 38 percent of the admissions officers polled reported that what they saw on Facebook negatively affected applicants. Many prospective employers are also surfing social networks to find out more about candidates.

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