Bad habits could leave you with fewer friends

Nov 22 2010 - 2:46am

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Illustration by SHADE LEEDS
Roy High School/shadeyday@hotmail.com
Illustration by SHADE LEEDS
Roy High School/shadeyday@hotmail.com

With the Internet becoming more accessible, the popularity of the famous social networking site Facebook expands every day -- with both good and bad consequences.

There are more features and capabilities and more people to share these with, but there is also more room for conflict among Facebook users. In order to avoid said conflict, we have compiled a list of what some Top of Utah teens say are the "Do's and Don't's of Facebook."

* Don't be a Farmville addict.

"Oh no, let me call you back, I have to go harvest my crops!" "Click." Hello ... One of the many capabilities of Facebook is the ability to have your own virtual farm in a game called Farmville. You can manage your own farm by plowing land, planting, growing, and yes, even harvesting crops. You can also plant trees and bushes, and even raise your own livestock, all while never leaving the comfort of your computer room.

I hate to break it to all you virtual farmers but not every Facebooker is interested in the fact that you just moved up to level 5 and need new neighbors. For some teens, Farmville is considered a definite "don't."

"The people who play Farmville are wasting their time and I get sick of all the junk they send me," says Kyron Craven, a sophomore at Layton High School.

Yet with 64 million active users playing Farmville, certainly not everyone finds this game a don't. So go ahead and play Farmville if you like but don't drag the rest of us into it by continually sending requests that are just repeatedly ignored.

* Do update, in moderation

John Paul says good morning. John Paul is getting ready for school. John Paul made pancakes for breakfast. John Paul is brushing his teeth.

OK, sorry John Paul, but no one cares what you're doing every minute of every day! Updating your status this often is a definite don't. So how often is it OK to update?

"I don't really update my status that often. I do when something important happens but not really much besides that because I don't really think people care if I tell them I changed my hairstyle," says Sydnie Brinkerhoff, a junior at Syracuse High.

There isn't really a solid answer to how often you should update your Facebook. The only thing for sure is that updating your status is a "do." If no one ever updated, there would be no Facebook.

* Do find friends

The reason people spend so much time on Facebook is not for themselves, it's for their friends. There would be no point in updating statuses, uploading photos, filling out your "About me" and so on if there was no one to see it. So having friends is an absolute "do" -- but with all those millions of users, who should you be friends with?

Jessica Wright, a senior at Layton High, says, "You should only add people that you know personally. I have about 160 friends and at one point I knew them pretty well, but the longer time goes by I find that I only keep track of 15 or 20 of them closely."

A good rule of play might be the advice of Brett Clowards, a Northridge junior: "Don't request to be friends with people you don't know and don't accept to be friends with people you don't know."

* Don't post TMI

What makes a good status update? Facebook asks users to post what's on their mind, however, what if how much they hate a certain co-worker is what's on their mind? Or what if they're thinking about the stench of their cat's recent throw up? There are some things that people just don't care about and some things are just downright inappropriate.

Josh Cowles, an Ogden High senior, says "put whatever you feel like putting; I just put whatever I want to. I don't care what people think; most of mine are song lyrics that inspire my thought process. What other people put doesn't really bother me -- it's their Facebook, let them do what they want."

You're the judge of what's appropriate and what people just don't need to know, however, I would advise leaving your cat's vomit out of it.

* Do unfriend

We all have that one friend that we just can't stand! Maybe she posts something every 10 seconds and clogs our news feed, or sends you a million "Yo Ville" requests every day. Is it ever OK to remove a friend?

"It's OK to delete someone if they're doing something to bother or offend you; they're not being a good friend anyway (so) it's not worth keeping them your friend," says BreAnne Nalder, a senior at Fremont High.

* Don't hide out

Well, would you look at that, Sam just changed his profile picture to a 1980 Corvette. Isn't that nice, I had no idea he a was transformer now! Oh and look, I have a friend request from Cutie Cupcake 94!

The slogan of Facebook is "stay connected" -- how do you reconnect with someone when you can't find them because they're using a fake name or a profile picture that isn't really them! Fake identities on Facebook are a "don't."

"I think you should have a picture of yourself because when I get a friend request, if I don't recognize the photo I won't add you," says Jessica Wright, a senior at Layton High. "Fake names bug me; it's not like an e-mail address, you should use your real name or people won't add you."

The bottom line is that it is your Facebook account, so do what you want. Remembering Internet safety rules is a "do" but when it all boils down to it, the only true "don't's" are being disrespectful to others and yourself.

Caitlynn Kindall is a sophomore at Ogden High School. She enjoys softball, debate and being outdoors. E-mail her at cuteboardgirl95@msn.com.

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