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Facebook Rules For The 'Elderly'

The world can be divided into two groups: those who grew up with social media, and those who did not. Here, we try and instigate some guidelines for the latter group.

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1. Remember that Facebook is public.

Facebook, and social media in general, is a fantastic way to stay in touch and see what's happening in the lives of your favorite gen-Xers. Favourite niece graduated university? Fantastic! But posting a long gushy essay of how proud you are of the young woman you still remember running around in diapers is not appropriate. She probably has ex-boyfriends, future partners, lecturers, colleagues, potential colleagues, and who knows who else on there. This sort of post is personal, between a loving Aunt and her niece. That means the world doesn't need to see it. Private messenger is there for a reason.

2. Don't just post 'hi' on someone's wall.

This one really baffles my generation. It's like the start of a conversation, but using the part of Facebook that isn't actually for conversations. Why? Why do that? It's like walking up to someone IRL (in real life) and saying hi, then just staring at them. It is that awkward, and equally as non-conducive to a conversation. Again, we say, use the private messenger app.

3. Don't tag their name in every post.

Or even one. It means that the post will show up on their wall, which means all of their friends will see it too. That post about how your china cat collection is really coming along? I mean, we're happy for you, but this is the equivalent of turning up at our high school and loudly inviting them to a quilting competition. Embarrassing.

4. Don't publicly post plans to catch up.

Example: "Your Aunty Jean and I will be there at 10.30am on Thursday."

Do you not text message? Phone call? Or, and it seems we can't emphasise this enough - use private messenger?

Ok, at least this one isn't embarrassing, but it does clog up everybody's news feed with information useless to everybody but you.

5. We get it - everyone has frustrating days. But keep it between you and yourself.

Those five page long rants about how everyone and the milkman made your day so shitty are not on. You wouldn't (hopefully) throw a tantrum in the middle of the shopping mall, yet this is a digital equivalent we see fairly often. Just because the rage is contained to the digital world, doesn't mean it doesn't count.

6. For the love of God above, do not post childhood photos.

This needs some clarification. Post away on your own wall. But don't tag us, or share it on our page. We're glad that you are proud of us, but we don't need the world to see us pre-braces with icecream dribbling down our chins. Some things are private.

7. Some topics are off-limits.

Their love lives, sex lives, your love life, anything embarrassing they have ever done, their childhoods. Remember, being Facebook friends is a privilege, and chances are they have consciously cultivated what goes on their walls (even if you think half of it is dumb). Posting or commenting in this manner is actually intrusive, so try and stay away from it.

8. Still not sure?

To boil it all down into one simple guideline: if you wouldn't shout it to them in a room full of strangers, don't post it. See? Easy.

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