Social media (Facebook, Twitter, and the like) is a wonderful tool for staying connected to friends, family, and colleagues. It can lead to new friendships (Meetup or online dating sites) and even a new job (LinkedIn).
Unfortunately, some of us are breaking the rules.
To me, social media is like a party: fun, light, with the occasional deep conversation. But we have some party-goers who do not understand the etiquette.
All Caps Guy
Oh, my friend, you are my biggest pet peeve. Hitting caps lock and shooting off an email, a comment, or a tweet is just you yelling at me, and I don't like it. Ever. Think of caps lock as the habanero of the conversation world: used correctly, it can spice up the conversation. Use it incorrectly, and you're just making people's eyes sting.
Political Pete and Religious Rob
These party-goers don't know how to keep the conversation light. They are also terrible listeners. Pete and Rob will comment about their views (pro or con) even in threads that don't really have anything to do with politics or religion. Pete and Rob see things very black or white and it's usually their way or the "you're just stupid" highway. Sadly, the only way to deal with a Pete or Rob is to disengage.
DO NOT engage a Pete or Rob (see what I did there?) by trying to talk to them about their inappropriate behavior in the thread they've hijacked, it will only lead to them getting on their soapbox. You must talk to them privately and in person to really have an impact. Speaking of hijackers...
OK, I've been guilty of being this guy. You post, "Just tried sushi for the first time! I loved it!" and within about three replies, Harry is setting up a lunch date with someone, and it isn't you. The best way to deal with a hijack is to confront it: "Harry, take your planning off my wall," or something like it.
Wendy Whiner and Olaf the Oversharer
These final party-goers make me shake my head. Often, these characteristics can coexist in the same person.
Wendy is constantly complaining: Her back hurts, the bus was late, and dinner was gross. Meanwhile her BFF Olaf is telling you every move he makes: at dinner with Wendy, in the car, driving home, brushing teeth, going to bed... Sadly, there's no "fix" for Wendy or Olaf (or the odd Wendy-Olaf combination). This is just who they are as people. The best way to deal with a Wendy or Olaf is to gently (and again in person) talk to them about the whining or oversharing. They may take your advice, or they may not. If not, I'd hide them from your feed.
Social media is a fun and useful digital gathering place, as long as everyone follows the rules. If the rules aren't followed, you'll find the reaction to a Rob or Wendy is the same: When the rules are broken, we leave the conversation or situation.
So take your social media space back by setting up some boundaries. And if you're guilty of being one of these people, stop it. You're irritating the rest of us and we like you too much to de-friend you.