[ 10 ] Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting Your Next Facebook Update

What’s on your mind? 

It’s the gray-colored question millions of people are asked every single day before they update their Facebook status.

Facebook has been a significant tool in the hands of millions of people around the world. There can be great benefit to this tool. But Before you answer that gray-colored question yourself on your next Facebook status update, ask yourself these ten questions first:

  1. What is my motive? This will save you from a lot of trouble and bring perspective. It may even help you filter out what you say and what you choose not to say.
  2. Will this matter in a month? If not, we’re just adding to the digital noise. In that same vein, it’s worth asking: am I bored? If so, don’t post. Status updates done out of boredom should be eliminated entirely.
  3. Is this wise? Another angle: will what I write embarrass my grandmother? There are too many examples of unwise Facebook updates to count. Some are funny. Some make you cringe. Others than to make you cry.
  4. Is it worth it? Put differently, is what I am about to say even necessary? 
  5. Does everyone need to read this? If your update is intended for one person (or a small number of people) send a private message, not one that will end up on every single one of your friends’ pages.
  6. Am I encouraging conversation or shutting it down? Many updates are declarative statements that can come across as condescension or expertise. The best updates invite conversation – many that include a question to engage friends in discussion. Consider asking a few thoughtful questions.
  7. How’s my tone of voice? Am I being passive aggressive? Angry? Am I complaining? Boasting? Preachy? Whiny? This is very significant to keep in mind – especially in this election season.
  8. Is this honoring? Am I dishonoring others (or am I honoring myself too much?) Facebook can be a place that encourages shameless self-promotion. Derail this trajectory on your account as much as you can. Life is not about you. It’s much more interesting when we have a posture of ‘hey, there you are!’ than ‘hey everybody, look at me!’ Remember: it’s very meaningful to honor others and their uniqueness, personality, thoughtfulness and giftedness in public.
  9. Is this truthful? It’s easy to put our best digital foot forward in venues like Facebook, highlighting the good but ignoring the bad. Make sure you aren’t lying – or even telling the truth plus or minus 10 percent.
  10. Could I be investing my time more wisely by doing something else? This would eliminate a significant amount of Facebook status updates worldwide if we all asked this question every time we logged in, wouldn’t it? Remember: life is short. You only live once. Go live it. 

 Are there any other questions you would add to the list? I’d love to hear your suggestions. 

14 Replies to “[ 10 ] Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting Your Next Facebook Update”

  1. How about, “Do I want what I post right now to be saved globally, publicly, and FOREVER?” Because it could be. Any one of your hundreds or thousands of friends can take what you say and repost it/republish it publicly so it is then outside the privacy fence of FB.

  2. Great comments, JR. Reminds me of my own struggle to delve into blogging. Is my intent to draw attention to myself, or to genuinely benefit others? Every time I start typing I remind myself, This is not about me; it’s about them.

  3. FYI, on “Does everyone need to read this?” – you can customize your posts so that only a select subset can see it, you don’t have to do a private message.

  4. These are great questions, and I wholeheartedly endorse them to chasten ourselves about the ways in which and purposes for which we engage in the practice of Facebook, and I need a number of these myself most days…

    My only caution is that we should be equally cognizant of that “practice world,” or language game, of Facebook. Since the system sets the constraints/rules of play – it’s important to understand how those rules pre-shape what’s possible.

    This article on the Atlantic is about Google Glasses, but the points raised are very pertinent to helping us see the limits that Facebook sets on our desires to engage in it virtuously:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/google-glasses-and-the-myth-of-augmented-reality/255508/

  5. Another question to ask yourself…is alcohol involved?
    Stay away from your computer and cell phone if the answer is yes.

  6. Another side of facebook postimg to look at is who are my friends…do their posts reflect my views…do others reading them think I am condoningn what they post. It would be the same as when in conversation – silence is a form of agreeing with what is being said.

  7. I commented on the MWR site, but my questions might bear repeating:

    • What in the world possesses me to even consider wanting to be a part of this collosal waste of time?

    • Will my tombstone read, “She was an amazing Facebooker”?

    • Is this the entry level “communication drug,” the one that drags me further down into that dark space of non-communication communication?

    • When did I last take the time to sit down with an old friend for a face-to-face conversation? How long has it been since I wrote a letter to a relative?

    One of my most treasured possessions, by the way, is a box of my Grandpa Kremer’s wise (and funny), weekly letters, written during the early 1970’s, when I was in my 20’s and we corresponded every week. I can still hold them and read them and know they’re safe in the box in my closet, there for the person they were meant for – me.

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