Kings and Queens of Social Networking
You know that this is the age of Facebook. The site currently has over 500 million users and is becoming more and more ubiquitous. If you read a new story you find interesting, you can share it with your friends instantly. If you’re sitting in the airport waiting for your flight, you can check your page on your smartphone. You can be sitting ten feet from a coworker and be having two conversations going—one live in the office and the other on Facebook. Users post their status, personal info, photos, links to sites—almost anything—and their friends can chime in with their comments.
Can you apply the rules of body language to Facebook to learn more than meets the eye about your friends and acquaintances? Sure you can. First, most people post some sort of user photo. Even if it isn’t a picture of them, you can discern a lot about personality from this photo. Is it an attractive head shot? A deliberately goofy picture? A photo of a celebrity look-alike? This gives you insight into how the person sees herself and/or what she wants others to think about her.
A person’s method of posting can also let you in on his personality. While spelling and grammar errors can leave a poor impression, it’s HOW the person interacts with others in this forum that will truly illuminate her true colors. Let’s say you post your status as, “Loving my new job!” You’ll get lots of support and positive comments from friends who are happy for you. Maybe a new coworker chimes in to say, “We’re so happy to have you here!” And then a former coworker pops in to say, “You should be happy. You weren’t left high and dry when you quit.” Hmm … yes, that’s pure confrontation, and it’s the kind of thing that can turn ugly very quickly. Unfortunately, sometimes it spirals out of control before you even know it’s happening—your coworker replies to your former coworker, and the next time you check in to your page, you have thirty back-and-forth snarky comments to read through.
Realize that whether or not you are involved in the sniping, having it posted on your page reflects poorly on you. Yes, yes, the aggressor is to blame in the first place, but this is one of those purely nonverbal situations where you can take control and take the high road. Confrontations—whether in person or in cyberspace—are always best settled out of the limelight. Delete the entire thread, or just the offensive posts, and private message the person. In the end, you’ll come out looking like a mature Facebook user, while your former coworker (and now former Facebook friend) will look like the cage rattler that she is.
Flirting is another curious issue on sites like Facebook. Does someone pop up to comment every single time you post? Is this person into you, or is he just all over Facebook? Look at his page, which will list his recent activity. If he’s posting on thirty pages a day, then you’re just a pal. If he’s only posting on your page, he’s very into you.