I post things on Facebook. Quite a few things. And I keep my privacy settings “public” because I’m happy to have strangers see what I write and think. For the most part, it works wonderfully. People can share my posts easily, and I enjoy the variety of views and conversation that follows.
Every now and then, it breaks down. I’ll have people show up to the party who don’t really want to talk or listen. They just want to lecture or say why everyone else is wrong. I’m fine with even that, as long as they generally stick to the topic I was writing about. True, I have to step in now and then to knock some heads together, but fine.
Here’s the thing: the rule I have always followed is that if I don’t know someone (or at the very least I’m not Friends with them on Facebook), then I won’t post on someone’s wall. I’ll happily engage with someone on a public page. No gripes with that. But if I see a friend liked something on someone else’s feed, and it pops up in my feed, I’ve always treated it as off limits for commentary there. What I’ll do instead is post it to my own wall, where I’ll give my commentary.
And I think that’s been my assumption for social media etiquette. You can see what everyone posts, but you’re not supposed to comment on a stranger’s wall. Comments are there for Friends. But is this just something I’ve imagined? Am I expecting too much from the internet?
I would love to hear what other people think. In the meantime, I have a conference to run, so I’ll be very scarce online today and tomorrow.