How many things can someone post in a row (like, within 5 minutes of each other) on Facebook or Instagram?
Here is a relevant fable: a mischievous shepherd boy ran into a neighboring village one day, yelling that a wolf was attacking his flock. Several villagers ran to his assistance, only to find that the sheep were fine and there was no wolf in sight. They were annoyed, kind of. The next day, the shepherd repeated his trick. The villagers that ran to help him were fewer in number, but they ran to help just the same, only to find that the boy had tricked them yet again. They were like, “Seriously?” On the third day, the shepherd boy’s flock was actually attacked by a wolf, and he ran into the village for help, only to hear the villagers boo and yell, “NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR WOLVES ANYMORE, BILLY.” Then the wolf attacked Billy, and somebody took a picture, and it went viral.
It’s not necessarily true that people will definitely care less and less about each post or picture you put up, it’s just that maintaining a high enough quality and interest level to combat people’s tendency to be annoyed by repetition gets harder and harder each with every posting. It’s just hard to get super jazzed about your new haircut when you’ve posted six pictures of it already. Some of these angles have to be unnecessary, right? I am almost never looking at you from an aerial view.
You are safer, generally speaking, when you save your wolf cries for the things that are really important to you. Exceptions can be granted for extenuating circumstances, but in normal situations, you can’t post anything to Facebook or Instagram within an hour of anything else. Try to even go a WHOLE DAY, when you can. In between those times, take notes on anything that you’d otherwise post to Facebook in a journal. Once you’ve handwritten it all out, you probably won’t care to tell anyone else about it. Which should tell you something.
How long do I have to tweet back and forth with someone I’m “Twitter friends” with before it's appropriate for me to Facebook friend him/her?
Will being Facebook friends with this person even be good enough? That’s what I want to know. What would REALLY be cool is some sort of lifelike world in which we could go about our days interacting with townsfolk and acquaintances, building rapport points and locating common interest spheres, and eventually ask some of these people to spend time with us in our virtual homes or in theirs. Like The Sims plus Oregon Trail 3 plus Zenon plus holograms of famous people.
This transition is sort of a tricky one. I’m not convinced that anyone should become Facebook friends with someone with whom they don’t have any sort of non-social-media relationship, unless you both acknowledge that your Facebook friendship will the be gateway drug to your forthcoming IRL friendship/relationship. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for another set of boundary concerns. (“Can I like this status, or would that be weird because I don’t KNOW his new fiancé?” “Is it weird that I’m looking at pictures of her from 2005?” “Am I allowed to post on his wall?” “Was I always like this?” Etc.) What I guess I’m asking is this: will being Facebook friends with this person make anything BETTER or EASIER for you two? If not, there’s just not enough reason.
If you’re pretty secure about your Twitter friendship, and know that it’s all mutually adoring and huggy, and think that being Facebook friends with this person will make it easier for the two of you to strengthen your friendship, then you can add the person after you’ve been “friends” (i.e. relatively consistent tweeting back and forth, plus semi-frequent DM-ing) for 3+ months. Sometimes people get in little Twitter flurries and everything’s all hot and heavy (even in a friendly way!) for a while, and then it all dies off. You want to make sure you’ve passed that test, with breathing room. Friend him! (Or her.) Ahhhh, omg, I wonder how long he’ll take to accept. Ahhh, omg.
Writing is a hobby of mine, and I plan on starting to submit articles to websites and other outlets soon. I've seen other authors list their Twitter/website/etc in their end bio, which ends up promoting themselves/their business. My issue is that I'm not sure what my business is yet. I want to do more writing, but I view that as more a hobby than a career. Do you think I need to set up an online presence before sending my writings out or can I just leave an email address?
I have long felt that those of us in writing/media are not making as much use of bio links as we could be. Sure, linking to our other platforms or to our personal websites makes more SENSE, but wouldn’t linking to a YouTube video of dinosaur fight pictures set to house music be more FUN? That video says just as much about me, as an individual, as my Twitter does, probably.
But let’s say you’re trying to be “pragmatic” and have people think “positively” of your character and work ethic. Then, maybe, you really should link to something professional. The important thing to remember is this: only link to something else of yours if you think having others see that site/material will be beneficial to you in some way. There is no requirement that you link to anything in a bio, particularly if you aren’t really hoping to make this your career. If you want to, though, and you are just starting out, I’d probably link to your email. Cut to the chase. If you don’t want email, but have a Twitter account and think you’ll use it, you can link to that instead. Having tons of followers first doesn’t matter (I had about 60 when I was first published, and I was not very clear on how or when or why to use hashtags), but I think that caring about the platform you direct people to does matter.
FWD: Halp! is a weekly advice column on how to behave like a person when using technology. Would you like said advice? Email your questions to Katie.
Katie Heaney is a writer and volunteer text message analyst living in Minneapolis. She thinks you should have good manners, even on the internet.
Illustration by Cara Vandermey