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The 3 Facebook Posts That Will Get You Unfriended Immediately
Posting on Facebook isn't a science. There are no hard and fast rules for what you should or shouldn't be sharing. Anybody who claims there is—like "only post once a day" or "only post pictures in artfully edited batches of no more than five"—is full of it.
But that said, if your ultimate goal on Facebook is to stay connected with old and new friends, you might wonder what causes some people, maybe even actual friends from the real world, to mysteriously dump you.
Is it something you said? Or more specifically, wrote?
Christopher Sibona, PhD, a researcher at the University of Colorado Denver, has studied why people unfriend their Facebook friends. The most common reasons:
1)Polarizing posts about politics and religion.
2)Inappropriate posts with sexist and/or racist remarks.
The first two should be no-brainers. But number 3? That one is a little trickier. What exactly counts as "banal"?
Can you ever really be sure? After all, what one person finds fresh and original, somebody else could dismiss as trite and hackneyed. Can you ever win if you're trying to please everyone?
Actually, trying to please everyone is often what gets us into trouble. Michael Stefanone, PhD, a communications professor at the University of Buffalo, says that many Facebook users make bad social media decisions because of something called the Multiple Audience Problem.
"When we post on social media, our audiences are super-diverse, especially compared to when we hang out with people offline," he says. "Online, my audience includes colleagues, old girlfriends, potential girlfriends, casual and close friends, parents, and even grandparents."
Each of these subgroups has different expectations of your behavior, Stefanone says. And when you try to please everybody—or don't consider their particular beliefs or values—you're going to end up pissing off at least some of them.
MORE:5 Things You Should Never Say To Her
However, there are some status updates that we can all agree are just terrible, and you should stop posting them immediately.
Here are three of the most egregious—and dare we say, banal—status updates to avoid at all costs.
1. Anything Purposively Vague
These posts tend to be short and don't share any details that give even a hint of a context.
Updates like "It's been one of those days" or "Mind blown" or "I can't even" or "Please pray for me."
It's like you're dropping hints, and you want your friends to ask questions to get it out of you.
"We're all busy," says Stefanone. "I don't have time to take this bait and ask you for more information."
Rest assured, "bait" is exactly how your readers are interpreting a post like this.
"People do not like being manipulated, especially if they are drawn in without even a topic," says Karen North, PhD, a professor of digital social media at the USC Annenberg School.
2. The Humble Brag
Consider a status update like this: "Got accepted into both Harvard AND Princeton, and now I have to decide between them. What a morning!"
Or this: "Bumped into John Krasinski at the coffee shop, and we ended up talking for so long, I was totally late for work!"
North calls this a "transparent attempt to fish for compliments."
It is not, she says, the same as saying, "Oh, my God, I can't believe what happened to me" in person.
"It is clear that the writer has taken the time to log in, often post a picture, and then act as if he or she was surprised by the announcement of good fortune," she says.
"Humble-bragging is seen as a disingenuous attempt to brag and show oneself off as better than others."
3. The Unfriending Warning
If you're going to unfriend somebody on Facebook—either because of something they've specifically done to offend you, or as a general cleaning house (eliminating all the people you don't actually know)—then just go ahead and do it. There's no need for an announcement.
"In the real world, the vast majority of friendships fade without an active declaration of 'you are no longer my friend,'" says Sibona.
Online unfriending is fine, but when you make threats in advance, "Not only can this be perceived as poor manners and rude, but with online communities, it is even worse since people really do not have the opportunity to resolve whatever problems led to the threat," says North.
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