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Streight: Using Facebook to improve the world

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Want to improve the world? Be more actively engaged on Facebook  ̶  in a positive manner. Little things add up.

Here are 20 tips on how to use Facebook Netiquette to accomplish altruistic goals, plus a few ideas on troll smashing.

(1) Click like and share on posts you find edifying or enlightening. Do NOT just read them and smile and keep scrolling.

(2) Post encouraging comments when people express anxiety, disappointment, confusion, or frustration.

(3) Post good advice, with links to substantiating sources, whenever you see someone asking for advice or apparently needing it.

(4) Refrain from acting superior to others, but don't be shy about sharing your insights, expertise, or personal experience that is relevant and helpful.

(5) When a debate thread winds down, make your final comment "Thanks for the civil and interesting discussion. I hope we all learned something from it."


(6) Be quick to interject humor into a heated discussion, which can relieve tensions. Poking fun at yourself in a light hearted manner can be very useful.

For example: Someone said I was illogical in a comment. I replied with: "Sorry if I misunderstood your post. No need to be insulting, sir or madame." because I was not entirely sure if it was a man or woman. LOL

(7) Always try to find a link to a reputable source to document your point of view, rather than just making rash statements and rants.

(8) The point of an online discussion is NOT to "win" an argument. It's to express opinions and facts to enrich the conversation.


(9) NEVER post anything in drunken rage or sober anger. If a discussion is getting on your nerves, post "Thanks for the discussion." and exit the thread.

(10) Sometimes a troll or argumentative person could benefit from being taken down a notch or two. Doing this is good amusement for lurkers and other participants in a debate thread.

For example: When someone is on a high horse and is critical of you, you can jokingly praise them inordinately. When someone said I was not debating with "intellectual honesty" I replied with: It must be lonely being the only "intellectually honest" person on the planet. You are clearly so superior to everyone else on this thread. We sit at your feet as disciples to learn your deep wisdom.

(11) Your "ministry" or public service could be using your intelligence, compassion, and expertise to enlighten, educate, and alleviate mental suffering on Facebook. Don't think of it as wasting time or trivial.

(12) Send a private Facebook message, rather than a comment, when the case is sensitive, something the whole world doesn't need to see.

(13) Learn how to deal with controversial topics in a non-inflammatory way.

Say "this seems kind of silly to me" rather than "only an idiot would believe this.” Post a controversial topic without being dogmatic about it. Say "What do you think about this?" or "I'm not sure what's really going on here."

(14) Reply to comments on your posts, especially if they are questions. It's incredibly rude to just post stuff and never interact with anybody on Facebook, but many people do this.

(15) Use emoticons (smiley faces, "stickers", etc.) to express your feelings and to ensure people interpret your intention correctly. If you say something rather stern in a comment, soften it with a smiley face.

(16) BLOCK (not just unfriend) trolls, griefers, abusive comment posters, and people who use offensive language that you feel is inappropriate instead of crying "I'm done with Facebook. I don't need this aggravation."

(17) Don't relentlessly post something, like inspirational quotes, images with "Share and Like this" commands, trivial "what I'm doing right now" messages, rants against people or political parties, etc.

(18) If all you do is share the posts of organizations you support, you'll make people think you have no original thoughts of your own. You see this a lot with religious posts, where a person is constantly sharing posts of ministry groups and televangelists, but almost never expresses any personal ideas or thoughts.

(19) Lurker trolls can be called out, for the benefit of other debate participants.

For example: "______, your opinions don't count because you are a lurker troll. All you posted on your Facebook profile is 3 photos. That lack of personal expression is classic lurker troll behavior."

(20) Lurker trolls freak out and leave a debate when you go to their Facebook profile page and quote some stupid thing they said.

You don't have to be mean about it, but when you find something they posted that shows their lack of maturity or other deficiency, most trolls will be extremely uncomfortable and will suddenly stop trolling a thread. Typically they'll call you a “spy” and declare pompously “I'm done with this discussion!” That is the best result you could possibly get with a troll, who never responds to logic or sincerity, since all they want to do is disrupt conversations, cause trouble, and hurt the feelings of others.


About the Author
Steven Streight is a man of many skills. He’s a talented writer, web content developer, internet marketing consultant and photographer. He’s a trustee on the Peoria Historical Society, a member of SCORE Peoria and the author of the Peoria technology history book, “Bicycle Fever.” In his downtime, he’s hangs out with his beloved Min Pin and tries to get some rest. Considering how involved he is in the community, it sounds like he could use as much as he can get.