Here are two things that you should never do to your Facebook friends: create a Facebook group and add them to it without asking, or tag them in one of your photos unless you have a really good reason to. Why should you never do these two things? Because it can cause your Facebook friends to have their inboxes overridden with completely irrelevant Facebook notifications that they don’t want. What sort of friend would do that to their friends?
A big part of the problem is the ease with which one can do these things – there is a perception that if it is so easy to do – if Facebook made it so easy to do – then it must be ok to do it, right?
Creating a group on Facebook and then subscribing people to it without their permission is so patently wrong that we find it hard to believe that Facebook not only rolled out their new groups set-up with this ability, but that they have still not remedied what is clearly an egregious blow to best practices.
Tempting though it may be, it is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Don’t do it.
The second item – tagging someone in a photo on Facebook when you don’t have a really good reason to (like you know, they are actually in the photo – which is, after all, the purpose of this Facebook ‘feature’) is nearly as bad, because you are, again, signing your friend up for something they didn’t request – in this case to receive all those damn email notifications everytime someone leaves a comment on your photo. Got that? Your photo, even though the messages that will fill your friend’s inbox are telling them that you tagged a photo of them on Facebook, and that people are commenting on their photo.
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(The actual first notice to someone who has been tagged in a photo says that “Your friend tagged a photo of you on Facebook”, and then each subsequent comment sends another email to your friend saying that “Someone commented on a photo of you”.)
Oh, sure, your friends whom you added to your new group without their permission can always leave a Facebook group to which they don’t wish to belong, and your friends whom you’ve tagged in your photo can always remove their tag from the Facebook photo, but that’s not the point.
In fact, that is the very same argument that spammers use when people complain about being added to mailing lists without their permission. “They can just unsubscribe,” say the spammers.
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The point is, they shouldn’t have to.
So the next time you are tempted to create a Facebook group and sign everyone up without getting their permission first, or to tag a bunch of your friends in a photo you’ve posted so they will notice it, remember this one simple word: don’t.
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