Ed’s Casual Friday: Things to know about facebook

When I first digitally self-published a book one year ago last month, my entire “online presence” consisted of an email account I checked maybe twice a week. Now, of course, there are blogs, boards, and any number of social media venues where I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on a daily basis. And basically, they are all pretty weird.

There is a unique etiquette to virtual places like facebook which in some cases are quite different than any sort of “real world” interaction. Sometimes, it’s not. I took me quite a while to get used to a lot of it, but now after a year or so I have come to some conclusions. What follows is thus some of Ed’s Handy Things to Know about Facebook. Some of these will likely apply only to writers, some is good to know for everybody, and some of it might be worth keeping in mind if you ever happen to find yourself outside of your home, interacting with “real” people. Enjoy. 😉

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If someone comments on the cuteness of your cat/dog/child pic, they will fully expect reciprocation when they post their own cute cat/dog/child pic. And they will post one. Soon.

The difference between messaging someone or posting on their wall is the same as calling them on the phone or erecting a billboard on their front lawn.

If you post a paragraph and ask other writers to comment, and you add, “This hasn’t been edited yet,” you are basically saying “Hey, this chicken isn’t done cooking, but could you swallow a lukewarm chunk and tell me what you think so far?”

We all assume you “like” your own posts and comments. You don’t really have to hit the button.

No matter how many winky-face emoticons you add, somebody is still going to think you’re not kidding.

Before hitting <return> after typing that angry rejoinder, take a moment to ask yourself: What’s the best/worst case scenario of doing so? Compare and contrast that with the best/worst case scenario of hitting delete.

Know that if there was one way to do something that always worked for everybody, we would all be doing it already.

Yes, someone may be ignoring you. Or, they may have left to make a sandwich.

For everyone who might agree with whatever political or religious comment you feel the need to make, someone else is going to think you’re a total jackass.

If you obviously have a 1980’s haircut in your profile pic, you’re not fooling anybody. We know you don’t look like that anymore.

Speaking of profile pics, facebook is a public street. Put a shirt on.

Yes, within a thread, facebook is a conversation, and nobody speaks perfect, grammatically correct English in a conversation. But a new post is an announcement, and you really ought to proofread that thing, or you look like an idiot.

Know that all the quadruple-encrypted, super-duper, online-tiger-trap security in the world is not going to stop somebody from hearing about that thing you said about them.

If you post something important on a page that has been totally deserted for two hours, rest assured it will instantly be pushed into oblivion by an inexplicable burst of pointless activity.

Free advice is worth every penny.

Whenever you complain about your book sales only being at X number, know that everyone whose sales are less than X secretly wants to beat you to death with a rake.

Consider if it is really worth getting bent out of shape about anything somebody says about vampires or unicorns.

Definitions: “Open” pages are open. “Closed” groups are where people from Open pages go to snark about other people on Open pages. “Secret” pages are where people from Closed pages go to snark about other people on Closed pages.

If somebody disagreed with you the first time you said something, saying it again probably isn’t going to change their mind.


When flogging your book on a page that is mostly writers, keep in mind that any reader who reads and likes your book may recommend it to their friends. Any writer who reads and likes your book is pretty much going to just keep recommending their own book to their friends. Is selling to other writers really the best use of your time?

Some of your “friends” are not your friends.

It is unlikely that people are out to get you. It is more likely that they just don’t care either way.

Somebody absolutely hates your favorite book, and somebody loves that book you can’t stand. Get over it.

Any publicity is not good publicity.

If you are having a lousy day and request virtual hugs, you will receive virtual hugs. And actually, that’s kind of cool. 🙂


As always in closing, an excerpt from an actual one-star review of a book. Call it a “pick me up” if you ever happen to get a less-than-stellar review (and you will).

“This book is very gay without saying it.”
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


M. Edward McNally is the author of the Norothian Cycle books: The Sable City, Death of a Kingdom, and The Wind from Miilark, and multiple free short story volumes titled Eddie’s Shorts. He has been writing for twenty of the last thirty years and does not recommend the ten year spell of writer’s block in the middle. Ed is a contributor at Indies Unlimited (IU Bio Page) and tilts at his own windmills over at http://sablecity.wordpress.com/ [subscribe2]

Author: M. Edward McNally

Epic fantasy author M. Edward McNally is a North Carolinian of Irish/Mexican extraction. He has a Masters in English Lit from ISU and Russian/East European History from ASU. He grew up mostly in the Midwest along I-35 northbound (KS, IA, MN), and now resides in the scrub brush surrounding Phoenix AZ, where the scorpions and javelinas play. Learn more about Ed at his blog, and his Amazon author page.

38 thoughts on “Ed’s Casual Friday: Things to know about facebook”

  1. Ha ha, great post, thanks! Best bit for me was this:

    Whenever you complain about your book sales only being at X number, know that everyone whose sales are less than X secretly wants to beat you to death with a rake.

    Substitute "baseball bat" for "rake" and I'm right there! Thanks for some laughter this Friday 🙂

  2. Oh boy.

    Here's mine:

    Every so often someone is going to write a blog you so wanted to write yourself. Where's that rake?

    Ed – I love this so much I hate you. Oh! This is not going to be ignored is it? Am I still not your friend? Please don't call me a jackass.


  3. SO great. Thanks! Also to note: take a few minutes extra to pause on that delete button if you're drunk, have PMS, or have just had a major argument. Just like the home improvement dudes, read twice, post once. Off to develop a sarcasm font…

  4. When authors do not create a separate page dedicated to their books and musings on writing, what results is often a friend request. That action merges them into an arena that is in fact, filled with personal content intended for friends, family and those of like kind.

    If political posts show up on my personal page and you as a fellow author don't agree with that position, that's not a problem for me. In the best of all possible Facebook worlds, we "should" be connected only through our author pages.

    Facebook was originally intended as a forum for friends to share not just what they think, but how they feel about everything under the sun. Are we being asked to censor our personal pages?

    1. Marcia, not by me, I'm not asking anybody to censor anything. Though it is worth it sometimes to keep in mind that just as we all have a right to say whatever we want, everybody else has a right has a right to think whatever they want about us, based on what we say.

      1. LOL…that's always been a given! People will think what they will. Why bother to speak at all, if you're worried about winning popularity contests?

  5. “Hey, this chicken isn’t done cooking, but could you swallow a lukewarm chunk and tell me what you think so far?” McNally!!!!!!!!

  6. Ah, FB etiquette. Great post, Ed.

    I suppose I should start an author page at some point. But, that would bring my FB pages up to four, and I will have to manage the incredible activity.

    I agree that there is a fine line to be walked when promoting your own work on writer threads. I have bitten my tongue many times over the pushiness and whining of the same people. It is always a relief to hear that other authors feel the same way.

    And I agree with Dan. I'll help anyone by reading something they've written, but if you tell me you just pulled it out of your … ear, I'm not interested. Too busy.

    You're funny.

  7. Ed, after re-reading and fully agreeing with Karl Marx's Das Kapital as well as the complete works of Anton LaVey, I thought I'd come on here and GET SOME BAD PUBLICITY BY YELLING, flaunting my '80s haircut.

    Oh, yeah, this post isn't edited yet, so give me a @#$%ing break… and Pynchon sucks, ROFLMAO!!!! 😉

  8. Never understood the people liking their own posts on their own page thing, always found that bewildering when I've spotted it. A real head-scratcher.

    Facebook has many virtues and can also be ultra revealing about people you think you know well in ways you've never thought about in terms of what they end up sharing.

    My own personal bugbear is the post that says something along the lines of 'I'll know who my true friends are if they repost this…' Argh!!!!!!

  9. Entertaining post, Ed!

    I keep expecting a newly coined word for Facebook etiquette, or perhaps more likely its marked absence!

    1. ******* wondering why I don't have a face on here, much less a shirt. Anybody know? No smiley faces or winks accompany this post.

      1. I'm totally the wrong guy to ask any technical questions, Peggy, but I think it has something to do with what account you sign on to comment with, twitter or wordpress or whatever. The default if one is not selected is just the blank face.

        1. Thanks, Ed. I cannot remember how I originally registered here, but that's probably it.

          1. Thanks, David! Looks like I am visible now, face and shirt! Hopefully this will work across other forums where I may be simply a ghostly presence.

          2. I did?

            I thought I had a WordPress account once upon a time, and just had not used it. But, the gravatar is associated, it seems.

            I probably should have registered initially using Facebook. And, since FB was the original topic of this posting… I'm just not always sure I want every site associated with FB. Maybe Ed will extend his FB expertise to address that issue!?

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