Emily Post is probably rolling over in her grave. I can’t say that I blame her. It has recently become an issue in a Facebook group that a couple of people are complaining about the number of posts being made in a group with over 2,000 members. This can be addressed two ways – from the perspective of the reader and from the perspective of the poster.
I am a member of 21 groups on Facebook, 3 of which I am administrator. Several of those groups are small (fewer than 30 members) and get minimal traffic. Others are very large (1,000+ members) and have heavy traffic. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly. But I don’t let these groups take over my life.
Wanna know how?
Whenever I join a new group on Facebook, the very first thing I do is turn off the notifications. I don’t care how awesome the group is, I don’t need my phone buzzing or my Facebook dinging (or both) every 12 seconds to let me know someone posted a comment in the group. It’s distracting and annoying. You will continue to receive notifications if someone tags you in a post. You will also receive notifications if you post or comment and someone comments after you. Don’t worry – you can turn off those notifications too (if you want) by clicking the down arrow in the top right corner of the post. This feature can be a little wonky sometimes, and you might have to turn ON notifications before you can turn OFF notifications.
The next thing I do is unfollow the group. From my newsfeed, I click on the down arrow at the top right corner of the first post I see from the group, and select unfollow. You can do this without leaving the group. The group members have no idea that you have done this, and more importantly the group administrators also have no idea (well, I guess they do now!). It simply keeps it from clogging up your newsfeed.
Now I can click on the group in my left sidebar when I have time, and skim through the posts that interest me. Don’t feel like you need to read EVERY post. You don’t. Some of them won’t even apply to you. For example, I don’t use Legacy or FamilyTreeMaker, so I tend to ignore posts about topics unique to those programs.
If you’ve done all of this, but there’s just that one unrelenting member who continues the deluge of questions and off-topic comments — remember you can always block people even if you aren’t friends with them. Then you won’t see any of their posts … ever.
I also try to be a better group member by (1) using the search feature to find specific topics that interest me – or to find out if someone has already answered a question I have; and (2) only post questions and/or topics that are relevant to the theme of the group. The search box is located just under the notifications button. Use it. Most times, your genealogy groups are not the appropriate place to ask for technical help or request features for your software. There are groups dedicated to software and other services. Join them and ask your specific questions.
Think about how many questions you have, or posts you’d like to make. Now multiply that by the number of people in the group. That’s how many posts you’ll be dealing with. If everyone in the group would take a minute or two to search the group, there would be no need for all the other steps.
Think about this. If you were to join a local genealogy society or writing group or knitting club or sewing circle – one where you met in person – would you behave the same way? Would you jump up every 5 minutes and interrupt everything and ask a question that was just asked 10 minutes earlier? Would you ask your sewing circle a question that only your writing group can answer? Then why is it okay to do in a virtual group?
C’mon … don’t be THAT guy.
Do we share ancestors? Email me: lostancestors AT gmail DOT com
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