Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Facebook etiquette: Let friends break their own big news

Last weekend, my sister-in-law got engaged. After I congratulated her on the phone, I thought it would be fitting to post a note to that effect on her Facebook profile -- but then saw she hadn't updated it with the news.

Now what?

There's only one thing to do in confusing social-media scenarios like that: Post your question on some other social network. So I asked on Twitter: "Friend just got engaged but hasn't updated her Facebook relationship status yet. How long do I wait to post congratulations on her profile?"

I was surprised to see most people take a conservative, deferential view, suggesting that I hold off until she updates her profile. As one reply sagely observed: "She may be calling friends and family first so they don't find out via social networks!!"

That consensus held on Facebook as well. Only two people left their congratulations -- a third simply wrote "ahem...." -- before my sister-in-law changed her relationship status to "engaged" and set off the inevitable thread of dozens of happy comments (mine included).

The other big life changes don't seem to involve this kind of timing hangup. Take births -- thanks to mobile phones, you can expect typo-strewn updates about new births from giddy, sleep-deprived moms and dads within hours of the blessed event. We all know the formula: baby name + weight + length + blurry cameraphone shot.

Deaths, meanwhile, rarely seem to be announced close to real time -- the usual cue is somebody's total disappearance from their online social networks. Once friends find out, they may face a different problem: "Oh, hell; what can I possibly write to make sense of that?" (Should you be in that position, write something anyway.)

So now I have another ethical quandary: I've met my sister-in-law's fiancé once before but didn't think to send him a friend request then. At what point would that be appropriate?

By Rob Pegoraro  | September 23, 2010; 8:15 AM ET
Categories:  Digital culture, Social media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: ZoneAlarm gives people a new reason to hate security software
Next: Blockbuster goes bust

Comments

You are asking when to send a friend request to someone you know? That's up to you, Rob. It's not an etiquette question, it's your personal decision on if and when YOU want to friend THAT PERSON.

Posted by: ClarkKent1 | September 24, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company