Facebook Etiquette: Don’t Tag Me. I Don’t Wanna Play

A few months ago I received a text from a friend, asking me when I started thinking that misogynistic humor was funny.  When I asked what she was getting at, she directed me to a joke that I supposedly posted on Facebook.

After checking my page, I noticed that someone else had “tagged” me, among others, in a very crass and sexist joke that I considered both disrespectful and utterly unfunny.

I clarified that it wasn’t me, but rather a tag, to which she quickly apologized, having not noticed the details of the joke’s origin.

I “untagged” myself from the post, then messaged the sender, instructing him not to tag me in such posts in the future.  He answered that he thought I’d like it, which is why he included me.  I told him that I wasn’t not sensitive or anal, but what he posted wasn’t me or of how I viewed women.

Which brings me to my so-called lesson or thought for all of you that use Facebook…

When you tag someone in a post, it appears on their profile page for all to see.  To those that don’t read far enough into it, it can be assumed that the tagged person posted it.  This can pose problems if the “taggee” does not subscribe to your philosophies, which has happened to me on more than one occasion.  Oftentimes, the posts are harmless, just casual humor and expressions.  But every now and then I’m included in messages that don’t represent me or my beliefs in the least.  When that happens, I have to “untag” myself.  If it’s immoral or offensive, I politely ask the sender not to include me in posts of that nature, like before.  One post was so horribly objectionable that I unfollowed that person immediately upon seeing it (I wasn’t sure how he got to my Friends list to begin with; some friend of a friend, but that’s a “FB Etiquette” post for another day.).

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s your page.  Freedom of speech.  Power to the people.  But please, speak for yourself.

That being said, what SHOULD you do if you’d like someone specific to see something you want to share? As I said, post what you want – but instead of tagging people, “mention(@) them in the “comment” section beneath your post.  This way they will receive notification of your post without it appearing as one on THEIR timeline.  

Simple as that.  Note if you don’t put the “@” symbol directly before their name, they will NOT receive and see your post unless they happen upon it in their “Home” timeline.

So exactly when SHOULD you tag?  In my opinion you should tag someone when the post involves them; usually in something like an event or photograph in which they can be found or shared the experience.  Even then, you might consider asking their permission, particularly if the photo is something in which they might not want to be mentioned or identified (e.g. parties or pictures with an ex, especially if they’re with someone new).  I recently received a high school photo of me, one of my best friends and both of our girlfriends.  Now, almost 30 years later, each one is married or in a relationship with someone else.  If I were to post that picture today, someone (or their current partner) might find it inappropriate or disrespectful.  

So be safe.  Err on the side of caution, especially when posting pictures that might raise a few eyebrows.  Remember, even the most innocent photos of people can prove problematic.  As a photographer, I have quite a few photos of people at social events who didn’t expect or want to be captured in certain moments, with certain people (that’s why I leave it to the event host/planner to decide what to post after my shoot).  Not everybody wants to remember life before the treadmill or relive New Year’s Eve memories of hands over mouths, desperately containing their stomach’s contents as they ran to the bathroom (Yup, I took one of those too).

And another thing – everybody doesn’t care to have fight videos on their page, or twerking, or animal abuse and so forth and so on…

And PLEASE be respectful enough to remove a photo when asked.

I think that’s all I need to say.  Just remember that not everyone investigates the details of a post, so be fair and be kind.  Don’t assume it’s ok to tag people in your rants of a racial, religious, political and/or philosophical nature, among other things.

Just mention them in the comments.

I think we all loved the game “Tag” as children, but in today’s arena, not everybody wants to be “it”.

…so think before tagging me…  

…cause sometimes, I don’t wanna play.

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