Why would anyone need Facebook Tips you may ask? Isn’t social media just the easiest thing to use?

Well, yes and no. Technically it is as simple as pointing and clicking, but there are ways we can use it which encourage and invite conversation and happy faces. There are also things we can do – or not do – which can close down engagement or make people mad or sad or bad or combos of the three.

While it involves people and so there will never be a way to get it right that doesn’t offend, confuse or enrage, there are some fairly easy things we can do or be aware of that can make being on Facebook a lot more fun for everyone.

So give this quick list of 5 helpful tips a look through and see if any of them apply to you… and then drop your top tip in the comments…

Facebook Tips

Facebook Tips: #1 Paragraphs

This one feels like it will save lives. Or sanity, at the very least.

Three times in the last 24 hours i have been greeted in a Facebook comment with a wall of text with not single line gap between any of it!

Many people will stop reading right there.

Don’t think of this as being shouted at. Think of this as an invitation to have more people read what you have to say. 

When you’re writing from a computer then holding Shift Enter will start a new paragraph and i think on a phone it is even easier.

And Facebook has the capacity to edit so if you realise you posted by hitting enter by mistake and it’s one large chunk of words, go back, hit edit and add in a few line breaks.

It seriously will encourage greater engagement which is what you want.

Please please please… for the love of that vein in my brain not exploding in a mass of oozy red liquid, use paragraphs!

Let me add a comment from Chris:

Chris Mouton: And punctuation seriously its really hard to read otherwise you might just run out of breath or keep people guessing what youre really trying to say my point is to use your points

All written without punctuation to help make his point. The overall point with posting on social media is that you want to make it as least distracting as possible to encourage the greatest amount of people to engage with what you have to say.

Facebook Tips

Facebook Tips: #2 Google is your friend

If you arrive late at a news event or commentary on something and everyone knows what is going on except you, then please do a quick google first using the word or phrase or name being discussed.

Jumping on to a post and asking for a link when you haven’t done the work is tiring for all of those who have.

Same as when you’re about to share something that seems too good [or bad] to be true [or if you’re about to share a post about an iconic person dying] – the way i do this is Google the name of the thing and the word hoax or scam and if a few different finds come up saying it’s a scam it probably is. Otherwise go to Snopes.Com and put the heading in and it can often tell you whether what you are about to share is legit or not…

Also a Bonus tip on this one is that if you’re about to share something that tells other people if they don’t share it then Jesus will be sad, STOP RIGHT THERE!!!! Just don’t be that person. Don’t.

When in doubt, Google. To find things out. To verify things. To learn more. [Just because something is on Google does not mean it is true but you can usually figure out by applying your brain piece to whatever comes up when you type in the thing whether or not it’s true]

There may be no stupid questions, but there are stupid [or usually more lazy] people asking questions. Don’t be one of them. 

Facebook Tips

Facebook Tips: #3 Read the article before commenting

This one came courtesy of June:

June Knight: Read the article before commenting 

i have seen this many times where people read an article title and assume they know what the article says or have an opinion based on the title and launch into commentary which may have nothing to do with what the article is about.

If someone has posted an article link then the understanding is that those who comment will have read the article which is why it was posted. So there is no pressure on you to read the article, but if you choose not to, then please don’t comment. You won’t understand the context that everyone else who has read it has. It is also lazy and tends to be reactive so if you feel like your comment is valuable, then it is on you to do the work of reading what has been shared.

Where possible, i would also encourage you to read the comments that have been made already [i sometimes don’t have time to do this, especially when there are 250 of them, but if there are 10 comments, do the work!]. Otherwise there is the likelihood of you saying something that has already been said. As you read the comments you might find there is a side thread where your comment will be more valuable and part of a bigger conversation.

Facebook Tips

Facebook Tips: #4 Context is king.

From my friend Nkululeko:

Nkululeko Jojo Xaba: When it comes to the racist comments or things that were said by some famous dude or something. Cite the full thing (add the site with said video or things written) , don’t just send the part that touched you. It’s crucial for the context to be understood.

As with the commenting in tip #1 if you are sharing something on Facebook then the hope is to make it as easy for people to engage as you can. In terms of not adding unnecessary obstacles. So where there is an easy link, video, article to share which gives your piece greater context and the audience opportunity for clearer understanding, do it.

Some helpful comments from Carla to add:

Carla Knoetze: It is allowed to ask for clarification/background/source before you move reacting in a reactionary way.

Carla Knoetze: Check dates of articles of shared posts/pic/news articles. Sharing old items news just for the sake of stirring is not necessary.

People sometimes see a headline and article that inspires a strong reaction and post it and then on closer look you see that it came out in 2014 and is no longer relevant. So checking basic facts can save people a lot of time and energy.

Asking questions to clarify things you are not sure about before launching in to a tirade can also be super helpful. Do everything you can to make sure.

Try and provide helpful context.

Facebook Tips

Facebook Tips: #5 Be intentional about public and private

From my friend Justine:

 Justine Beukes: Know when to comment and when to DM. Sometimes privacy is better.

This feels like a tricky one for me because i think there are times for both. 

When someone you know and care about posts something problematic, then it is probably best to dive into their Direct Message box [DM] and share why you thought it was a little off and give them a chance to put it right.

But for me there is also the idea that if you have got something wrong publicly, it is quite important for the audience to see that thing was challenged and/or changed. So if you jump into someone’s DM and they say “Screw you, i’m keeping it up!” then for the sake of those watching, it might be helpful and important for you to comment publicly why you disagree or why it’s offensive etc.

But as Justine said, it is about knowing [discerning] when your comment needs to be public and when it would be more loving/caring to send it as a quieter less confrontational message to someone one-on-one. Much potential conflict can be avoided this way. i have found that community is great in this regard as well if you’re not sure what you’re response should be, first bounce it off a friend and get their ideas. [Thanks Wayne for saving me from much conflict in this way! And Val and Mahlatse and others!]

Facebook Tips

There you have it. Five simple ways to ensure that your Facebook time is more engaging and beneficial to you and everyone around you. 

But this is not an exhaustive list and no doubt there are some more. Please jump into the comments and add your number one tip you would love to see Facebook people really get that would make life a little better for everyone… if i get enough, i may be able to drop a second list!

If you found this helpful, please SHARE it on your social media pages and tag problematic people who don’t paragraph or keep dropping hoax articles on your wall…