Recently I got into a poking frenzy on Facebook, as you do. Because I got bored, but am too lazy for wall-writing / Fluff-feeding / Graffiti-drawing. Midway through my 5th poke at a friend I haven’t seen for a long time, a thought suddenly occurred to me. What is The Poking Etiquette? Am I showing my friends that I care (enough to spend 3 seconds & 2 mouse clicks for them)? Or does it seem like a case of borderline obsessive compulsive disorder? Trust me, I’ve popped quite a few grey cells thinking deep thoughts on that. This kind of philosophical reasoning (bold, italic, underlined) really does boggle the mind, you know. It does!
First, we’ve got the Who Starts Who Stops question. Let’s say you first poke a friend as a quick way to say hi. Simple enough. Then they poke you. And back & forth & back & forth it goes. For days. Months. Eons. But just like everything else, surely it has to stop somewhere. And WHERE, is the issue. If you’re the first to stop this silly poking exchange, would they be cool with it, or not even realise it? Or would they think you don’t care about them and their profound need to be poked any more? On the other (poking) finger, if they decide to “Remove Poke” first, would you breathe out a sigh of relief, “Phew, finally! Thank God I didn’t have to do it.”? Or would you feel just a teeny weeny bit rejected, abandoned, resented?
Then comes the Time Between Pokes problem. Do you poke back every time you log in? (Which, according to certain statistics, is pretty much every 2 minutes in some severe cases. Ahem.) Or do you wait a couple of days, or some hours, or A FEW MORE MINUTES, before reciprocating? Would poking too often make you appear needy, obsessed, or even overly flirty? *gasp* “Oh my God, 5th poke in an hour! I’m not ready for this kind of commitment. I need my (cyber)SPACE. Breathe. Breeeeathe!”
And that’s not all. There’s still the Friend Who Never Pokes You Back dilemma. Should you keep your cool and remain “Aloof. Unavailable. Ice queen.” as Bridget would say, pretending nothing happened? (Yet secretly vow to NEVER poke the fair (digital) weather friend for the rest of your life Facebook fixation!) Or should you “casually” mention about that poke which is still waiting on their right hand column? Unless they already REMOVED IT! In which case if you find out, you are entitled to be mad, outrageously mad, steam-coming-out-of-ears kinda mad. And you should go to the extreme and cut all (virtual) contact with them! That would teach them a lesson about Acceptable Poking Behaviours. Hah! Then you know what’s next? You should drive yourself to their place, drag them out for dinner, or a movie, or a Pictionary game, and generally HAVE A LIFE!
And that concludes your Facebook Etiquette 101. Next semester in F.E. 102 and F.E. 103 (Elective), we’ll be tackling more complex issues such as “Who Should You Add As a Friend?”, and “Should People Be Allowed to Untag Themselves in YOUR Photos?”, and this: