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Stop those boneheaded Facebook comments

Your Facebook wall is an opportunity for your friends to completely screw you over.
Your Facebook wall is an opportunity for your friends to completely screw you over.
  • Swearing or making mention of a friend's questionable behavior on his or her wall is unclassy
  • Don't blow a friend's major announcement by putting it on Facebook before they do
  • "Liking" a friend's sob story could make you look like a jerk, even if you're kidding

Editor's note: Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz are the sarcastic brains behind humor blog and soon-to-be-book Stuff Hipsters Hate. When they're not trolling Brooklyn for new material, Ehrlich works as a news editor at, and Bartz holds the same position at Psychology Today.

(CNN) -- Facebook gets a lot of attention for being, uh, your space -- a handful of entry fields in which to sum up your awesomeness, right down to the bewildering "Write something about yourself" box.

Researchers fixate on what your profile says about you, while increasingly complex pages, plug-ins and boxes (what are those all about, anyway?) make it clear that Facebook is all about you.

Still, at least one tab of your Facebook profile is largely left to others' devices: the wall.

Here, controlled chaos reigns as friends and sometimes even strangers add uncensored commentary to your digital persona.

The wall's a totally bizarre concept, if you think about it: You're writing a message to your friend, but instead of getting it to him directly (Hey, the "send message" button is right there), you post a thought for the world to see.

It's an opportunity for your friends to showcase their wit, trot out inside jokes and flirt publicly. It's also an opportunity for your pals to completely screw you over.

When it comes to interacting on the FB, we suggest you cease and desist with the following:

Boneheaded move: Dirtying up a friend's wall

Just because you are wise enough to say "no" to friend requests from your Aunt Susie, your former co-worker and your little cousin Tyler doesn't mean the same is true of your friends.

Swearing or making mention of a friend's questionable (or even questionably legal) early-morning decisions on his or her wall is just as unclassy as her 3 a.m. dip into the never-dry pool of bad decisions.

Yeah, your bud might don an uber-short denim romper and cuss up a storm in a Peaches cover band on the weekends, but let her be the gatekeeper of that intel.

Boneheaded move: "Liking" your friend's sob story

Your journo friend wrote a heartbreaking article about a passel of homeless kittens being drowned at the local shelter. The headline is "Hundreds of Kittens Killed in Shelter Sham." Admiring your friend's grabby lede and use of alliteration, you click to give the article a thumbs-up. In fact, you "like" it. Oops. You sick animal-hating freak, you.

Let's try another one. Your friend writes a lengthy and hilarious note about his hapless Tuesday, complete with food poisoning, an awkward run-in with an ex at the used bookstore and an uninsured visit to the hospital after a precarious light fixture gave up hanging by its cord and crashed onto his cranium.

You, appreciative of the comedic tone and spot-on delivery, "like" the description of said friend's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. Yeah. Real nice.

Look, if a status update isn't overtly cheerful, skip straight to a pleasant comment, OK? Or just buy homeboy a beer. That, he'll really "like."

Boneheaded move: Blowing an announcement

Oh em gee, oh em gee, Ricky finally proposed to his girlfriend! Oh em gee, oh em gee, you must immediately share your opinion that it's about damn time, and even though you don't believe in marriage as an institution, you are pumped for the celebration and hope he'll consider letting your glam rock glittered-out indie band play at the reception!

Sans further ado, you rush to the book of faces, fingers aflutter, and hit the caps-lock key before filling in a long and detailed wall post, full of much congratulations and merriment.

Except that Ricky hasn't made this announcement himself yet, and he and his fiancée are feverishly calling up dozens of loved ones and convincing each that he or she is very first to hear the good news.

Now the remaining handful of VIPs make the discovery at the same time as the mouth-breathing masses, thanks to your TMI wall post. Ricky's friends and relatives are pissed at him, Ricky's pissed at you, and you sure as hell ain't getting the wedding-band gig that would almost certainly send you soaring toward a record deal and indie rock stardom.

All because you couldn't keep your mouth shut.

This goes for bad news, as well: Major life events such as train wreck-like break-ups, unforeseen job losses and the tragic deaths of beloved pet parakeets are best announced by he who is most personally affected.

The simple fix: Send a Facebook message instead. You could also try an e-mail or even (gasp!) pick up the telephone, but we know interpersonal communication is about as passe as those chill beach-rock beats your band was pumping out six months ago.


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