As a part of our continuing education effort…
FACEBOOK ETIQUETTE – THE PROFILE PIC
Many think FB is some liberating mechanism, the Wild West, a no-holds-barred playground. The truthful answer is that it has not only written rules, but many more that are simply “understood”.
It’s also far from being a world where men and women are on equal footing. Facebook etiquette is rife with double standards, with the most noticeable being how we respond to “profile pics”.
IF A GUY PUTS UP A NEW PROFILE PIC
… it is generally a recent shot of himself. No matter how good or how bad it looks, his male friends are now officially free to seek out and employ the most punishing insults they might find. At that point the contest is on, and each respondent attempts to top the last.
They know he will not protest. And NOT because men aren’t vain… cause frankly guys invented the weight room with mirrored walls. No, he won’t protest because the day will come when his tormentors post a new pic. He wants to reserve the right to exact revenge, and pleading for mercy now would forever disqualify him.
His female friends will as a general rule tend to follow the etiquette reserved for female profile pics, unless they choose not to, or have at any point in their life been married to him.
IF A GIRL PUTS UP A NEW PROFILE PIC
For starters it is seldom a new pic of herself. Unless your friends list doubles as the starting lineup for the Cowboy Cheerleaders, the profile pic is more likely to be a puppy or an adorable kitten, or a favored child/grand-child. Her profile pic is a lot more likely to tell you who is in her will than what she currently looks like. It really doesn’t matter that the guys on her list have also aged, and now look like 30 miles of bad road. It’s the principle of the matter.
Other times when she doesn’t use a current pic, she will substitute one from her wedding day, high school drill team, or the 10 minutes in 1979 when she was at her target weight. Today she not only still has that figure; she may have even doubled it. You will not ever know this, because so few use a current photo. People in Witness Protection are more likely to use their current pic than some girls.
RELATED TRIVIA: As a direct result of this tendency, the 2nd most common oral injury in America today is people biting their tongue to avoid saying “What happened?” when meeting a female Facebook friend. [The 1st most common oral injury happens to those who fail to bite their tongue.]
Anyway, in those rare instances where she does put up a current photo, there is a very strict protocol that must be followed. It is nothing new, it’s the same one we all heard from mom when we were little:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”
That’s the rule. There really are no true exceptions. It is immutable. To be clear…
• If the last time you saw makeup like that there were 10 people in a tiny car and circus music in the background… compliment her.
• If you haven’t seen a body like that since the scene behind Princess Leia when she’s in a 2 piece with a chain collar… compliment her.
• If it looks like a still photo from The Walking Dead… compliment her.
• If you saw a similar pic with a caption about 6 more weeks of winter… compliment her.
• If the photo might be evidence of Bigfoot’s existence… compliment her.
OK, there is ONE minor exception. The “cat call” rule. You may resort to innuendo or other semi-lewd statements normally reserved for guys in hardhats in large cities provided you really like the pic AND her husband and/or boyfriend fits any of the following:
A. Lives far away and hates travel
B. NOT ex-military / NFL / Martial Arts Instructor
C. Worried because you are on parole
D. Already hates you
You may also choose to temper this selection if she has a concealed carry permit and knows where you live. Outside of those criteria, the best bet is simply to play it safe and compliment her.
In the event that you ever commit a breach of the Facebook rules above, there is recourse. Your best bet is to change your own profile pic to a cute cat or puppy and move to a new address in another state. Otherwise, best of luck.