The Rules of Netiquette -- Dating in a Facebook World

Unless you're in a coma, you know Facebook has impacted everyone's lives. Here are my suggestions on how to date in a Facebook World.
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This big news this week was that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was named "Person of the Year" by TIME magazine. After his recent appearance on 60 Minutes as well as the success at the box office for The Social Network, I wasn't surprised at all.

Whether you like or dislike Zuckerberg as the selection this year is not the issue. If you're single and dating, you need to cast a wider romance net and give Facebook dating a shot. If you're already logging on to post your recent photos and you have an online dating profile, there's no reason not to combine your efforts.

On the day that TIME crowned Zuckerberg, my friends at YourTango, asked me about how I thought Facebook changed the way we date. How TIME "Person of the Year" Mark Zuckerberg changed dating. One thing is for sure, unless you're in a coma. Facebook has impacted everyone's lives.

So as I intertwine my rules of netiquette in matters of the heart, here are my suggestions on how to date in a Facebook World.

1.Don't rely solely on email, texting, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to ask someone out on a date and for the bulk of your courtship. Quite often your communication is unilateral. The object of your affection might not be checking their updates, so just like you shouldn't sit by your phone waiting for his call, don't stare at your personal computer or PDA waiting for a response. He or she just might be busy.

2.Breaking up has become too easy to do. If you're ending your relationship, do so in person, pick up the phone and have a conversation, or set up a SKYPE date to hear their voice. Otherwise you run the risk of being misunderstood if you send a text canceling your plans. Maybe you're not feeling well. Maybe he thinks it's over. Think before you press the send button and say au revoir from your keyboard.

3.Changing your Facebook relationship status to "Single" without discussing it with your significant other is a netiquette no-no. Nothing is worse than waking up to see comments on your Facebook wall about his latest rendezvous without you while you're still looking forward to Saturday's date with him. It really doesn't have to be that complicated after all.

4.Falling in love on Facebook, or anywhere in cyberspace won't work if you don't take your relationship from online to offline. It's fun to flirt, use Facebook chat, text, and tweet, but you still need to find the time to meet in real life (IRL).

5.It's a face that people are falling in love on Facebook. They are reconnecting with friends from nursery school and summer camp, while simultaneously forming relationships with people they meet in the real world by accepting friends requests on Facebook. If your friends aren't setting you up anymore, don't think your shelf-life has expired. Log on to Facebook and start chatting with some old friends and be open to the possibilities of Facebook and Twitter love.

6.Facebook is responsible for creating a fun-filled social calendar. Receiving party invitations on Facebook is a great way to expand your social network. You should attend as many events that interest you while you are single.

7.Tired of old online dating profiles? On Facebook, singles are more likely to post a recent photo of a family reunion or party photos from the holidays. What you see can really mean what you get, and that's good news for everyone on the world's largest social network.

8. Resist the urge to post photos on Facebook of your brand new relationship. One of you might be more serious than the other. He or she might like keeping your personal life more on the private side. Be on the same page, or at least in the same status update when the time is right.

9.Facebook's population is the equivalent to the third largest country in the world. You have a large dating pool to pick from. It should go without saying, but make sure that someone is single before approaching them on Facebook. Don't come on too strong with someone you hardly know or you might be viewed as a stalker, subsequently resulting in being de-friended.

10. If it's over, it's time for a Facebook cleansing. De-friend him or her to avoid the normal obsession of checking to see if they can live without you or not. Untag photos of the two of you on Facebook and move forward as a single person. It's the equivalent of shredding photos in an analog world. Staring at his or her profile will only hurt if you haven't moved on with your life.

Have you found love on Facebook? We'd love to hear your dating stories.

Julie Spira is a dating and relationship expert and the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online.

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