Go ahead and lol at my expense on this one. Being a Facebook novice, I just did something that may call for age limits for Facebook. Millennials, yes. Boomers, no.
Here’s the scenario: I kept receiving notifications on my Facebook page telling me that I had a message on my Super Wall. On my Super Wall, a bunch of messages required me to activate the X Me feature. So, I did, for the first time ever.
I saw a list of X Me’s I had been receiving but hadn’t read because I had not activated the feature. I also saw photos of Facebook Friends (FBFs) with words beside them, like “hug”, “love”, “cuddle”, and “annoy”. I didn’t realize at the time that these were choices of things I could send to FBFs.
Beside one FBF’s photo was the word “do”. By now I am all of 40 seconds into this feature, so seeing my friend’s photo, I clicked on it. Then, to my horror, a prompt tells me that I am sending a message that I want to “do” this person.
Remember, I am a Southerner. To us, the word “do” is usually accompanied by another word, typically after we are given a simple instruction. After being told something or given an instruction, Southerners say, “do whut?” So I was waiting for the “whut” part of the “do” message. I was expecting a prompt like, Do write her a job recommendation, or Do send her a birthday card.
I may be a Boomer, but I soon figured out that “do” in this context meant “do” as in, well, you know, that context. Fear swept over me as I had sent a message that is at best inappropriate and at worse, probably illegal in 37 states.
Being a Southern Gentleman, I did the manly thing. I contacted my FBF and apologized for sending that stupid message. She said she never received it. In my utter ineptitude, I evidently didn’t hit the right button to send it. But by now it was too late, for I had outed myself. She then proceeded to lol hysterically for about an hour and a half at what I had told her. “Potter, you complete dumb ass!” she screamed in fits of hysterical laughter. She could not stop laughing over my lack of skill at using Facebook.
As a strategic communication planning and management consultant, I think I have just discovered the ultimate “say/do” conflict.
With life’s little mistakes, there is typically a lesson here for us all. As a college instructor, I was forced to revisit my own lessons for my students:
- Never post on Facebook anything — photos, language — that a potential employer might view as inappropriate and skip hiring you. I know for a fact that even my internship sponsors are now reviewing the Facebook pages of potential interns in order to make hiring decisions. If you have anything inappropriate in your Facebook page, delete it now, especially if you are looking for an internship or a job.
- Read the instructions. I rushed into the X Me feature without properly understanding what I was supposed to do. As we approach final exams, this lesson is most important. Simply read the instructions.
- Think before you post.