The New Rules of Facebook (read this before you post!)

It's blue and white and takes up way too much of your time. It started out as a way for Harvard College students to keep in touch and is now a place for your grandmother, ex-boyfriend and yes, even your family cat, to connect. It's Facebook, and with CEO Mark Zuckerberg filing an initial public offering (IPO) at $5 billion, it's not going away anytime soon. If it's here to stay, collegiettes, we might as well make the best of it. But how can you use Facebook to help, rather than hurt, your social life? We know how fabulous you are, but it's time to show the online world, too. Find out if you're guilty of our Facebook don'ts below, and start being a Facebook 'do'!
 

DO be positive.
We all have (at least) one friend on Facebook who we keep around purely for entertainment value. She's always putting herself in crazy situations and telling the Facebook world about it, and while some of her posts make you roll your eyes, you get a laugh from her daily doses of drama so nothing has pushed you to click “remove friend” yet.
 
But what about the people on your News Feed who are full of negativity? Every status is depressing and negative, and you have to wonder if they ever smile. Do yourself a favor and edit them from your feed, and while you're at it, make your Facebook profile a happy place to be. Post pictures that make you laugh and copy and paste quotes that inspire you. On someone's birthday, send them a message instead of a generic “happy birthday” wall post, or take the time to find a photo, video, or personal anecdote to share with them.
 
When someone shares a major event in their lives like a new job, rather than adding to the list of comments on their status, head over to their wall (or is it a Timeline now?) and give your congratulations there. It will be more likely to stand out and will mean more than a “like,” although it's always nice to support someone that way with a simple mouse click.

 DON'T post emotional statuses.
We have all seen them — the long, angry statuses that end with “YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE” or the statuses that vaguely hint at personal drama using lots of unnecessary punctuation and Maroon 5 lyrics. When you're having a rough day, it can be tempting to use Facebook as a sounding board for every thought and feeling, but keep in mind that social networks are not diaries.
 
“Because it is such a public image, you have to look at yourself as though you're somebody else and think, 'if I were somebody else looking at my Facebook wall, what would this say about me.'” Says Kelly Beers, assistant director of the First Year Experience, a program to assist first year students in their transition to college life at the University of Maine. “I think a lot of students use Facebook as an FML moment, and they come across as this whiny negative person, which is not who they are in person.”
 
Kelsey Mulvey, a sophomore at Boston University, agrees. “It drives me crazy when people share all of their personal issues on Facebook,” she says. “I'm all for a vent now and then, but not online!”
 
Next time you are feeling low, don't resort to Facebook. You don't know how a status about something as simple as a less-than-stellar test grade could be misconstrued as something much worse. We’re not suggesting you immediately delete a friend who has been posting whiny statuses and a few too many Adele videos lately, but try to keep your relationship issues to girls’ night, not the World Wide Web.