Sharing content via social media is a major form of communication in American culture. “Share to Facebook” buttons are found on sites and blogs all over the internet, and it’s extremely uncommon to open your news feed without seeing at least one piece of content from elsewhere on the web.
When you find a piece of content that you want to share with your friends, there are a few things to consider, first. Certain content is better to simply add to favorites and leave off of your friends’ news feeds.
- Unnecessary controversy. A good rule of thumb is to think of Facebook as having the same rules as polite, Victorian conversation. Avoid money, politics, and religion. Yes, it’s a free country. Yes, free speech. No, your friends aren’t interested in reading another political diatribe. Nobody’s attacking your right to share it. They’re just tired of reading it, and yes, they could hide you from their news feed, but then what’s the point of you sharing it in the first place? Like it or not, Facebook is designed to be public, and whenever you share something, you’re placing it in the public eye. Like the article’s content because it aligns so well with your views? Great. Click “bookmark this page” and come back to it later.
- Pictures of your kids. They really are adorable, and it makes sense that you want to show them off. But, remember that anything you share to Facebook is accessible through links by basically anybody, anywhere. And that’s not just today or a month from now. Baby Joe’s pictures will probably still be accessible in 18 years when some teen bully is looking for ways to embarrass him in front of his date. Protect their safety and their dignity and keep photos of your kids private.
- Anything NSFW. There are more reasons for keeping this stuff off your page than we have time to discuss, but the main ones are obvious enough. First of all, they make you look unprofessional, and it’s no secret that employers use Facebook to scout out candidates. Secondly, 90% of your friends probably don’t think its funny. You’re making a nuisance of yourself. Stop it.
Next time you’re thinking of hitting that “share to Facebook” button, pause for a second. Is this really enhancing the lives of my friends and followers? If the answer is “no”, add an HTML bookmark and move along.