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20-40-60 Etiquette---I thought we were (Facebook) friends?

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: December 10, 2012



By Callie Gordon and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Helen Ford Wallace

QUESTION: Recently, I have had several acquaintances and people “friend” me on Facebook. It seemed nice and social. Yet it was not long before the real reason for the friend request emerged — relational marketing.

The posts included requests to try products, posts directed about what cool items they sell or promotional messages about specials that are available in their store. How can I diplomatically navigate through these social media waters and avoid the endless sales pitches?

CALLIE’S ANSWER: Choose your friends wisely? Or, there are certain people you can “hide” from you to not see their information.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Facebook provides all of us a good way to connect, including those who are trying to market a business. After all, word about a business often spreads through friends anyway, or at least starts in that network, and social media provides a great forum to let people know about it.

But if it bothers you, you don’t have to clutter your Facebook news feed with promotional posts. If you don’t want to unfriend the person, hide the updates. Facebook changes the way to do this regularly, but here are two ways that work currently:

1. Go to the person’s Facebook profile and select the gear wheel on the right-hand side just below the cover photo. You will see an option to report/block the friend, a choice that will give you another option to “unsubscribe from (friend’s name).” You will then prevent any of that person’s updates (even the non-business-related ones) from showing up in your timeline but you will still be Facebook friends and you can visit their profile anytime.

2. You can also click on the “Friends” tab in the same area of the page and select “Show in News Feed,” then “Settings” to be able to choose which types of updates and how many of them you want to see.

HELEN’S ANSWER: I think that people understand when you unfriend a person who is trying to sell something. It makes sense to me that if you don’t want to read those sales pitches, get rid of them. That also applies on Twitter. No explanation is necessary.

That being said, sometimes it is fun to read about what is for sale in various stores, particularly if you don’t have time to get out and shop. Probably your friends know what you might like from their stores and feature them on their Facebook pages. I have been thankful to see some holiday ideas from our local Oklahoma City stores.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Alan Herzberger, Digital Managing Editor for NewsOK. com: Easy. Simply unfriend that person on Facebook. There is no social media law forcing you to be Facebook friends with anybody. However, if you feel like you are breaking social-media etiquette by unfriending someone, then you can always manage the updates you see from that person.

Select the options to manage the frequency of posts you will see from that individual. That’s the best way to handle it quietly and diplomatically.

Callie Gordon is twenty-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus.

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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