Facebook is great for sharing the most special of life's moments. Like pictures of a cake, funny links, or your need for an able body to help you move a couch.
But those status updates are an open announcement to everyone you know. Some information is unwelcome. Some of it is unbearable. So, for the sake of all your friends, the following public statements are no longer allowed.
The Birthday Thank You
The only thing less sincere than the Facebook birthday wish (copy, paste the words "happy birthday!") is the day-after status update, expressing your gratitude for the dozens of perfunctory congratulations from people you barely know anymore.
All this serves to do is remind everyone that it was, quite recently, your birthday, in the wispy hope that someone will realise they forgot and shoot you a belated message. You don't need to shout thank you into the wind. If someone in real life wishes you a happy birthday, thank them. That's it.
Bummer city! This stuff has no place on Timeline, because Timeline is beautiful. And a death notice, whether casual or elaborate, will only make everyone uncomfortable and cheapen the passing of the deceased. The end of a human life shouldn't be making bedfellows with a shared meme picture of a squirrel. Be respectful. Or you will be haunted.
Personal Messages To Your Significant Other
You're in love. Love is wonderful. But love is intimate, and Facebook is not. Cutesy messages ("I miss u so much babe! had a great time this weekend :-D") — these must stop. Send a message, an email, or literally any other form of communication that isn't relayed across hundreds of news feeds. We wouldn't walk into your kitchen and shout about how hungry we are — don't pollute Facebook with your love howls. In fact, we'd prefer that you stop by each of our computers and just gag us by hand.
Whoa, man! Did you really drink all of those beers? No, you did not! What, you did? You drank all of those beers, and now you're hung over? So hung over!
Now we know. Now we can nod solemnly and think: Man, you are the coolest, and you have the worst hangover of all time, and you vow to never drink again. Maybe you won't mention it again, either.
Nobody cares except your close family and friends — who can be reached online directly — so stop bragging. Unless you got into a terrible school, in which case you're just making everyone feel bad a la Facebook death announcement.
Another braggart's favourite, the feat of physical strength is now a common subject of Facebook statuses. Nobody cares about how much you just benched or how many miles you just ran. Nobody wants to see photos of you standing at the finish line of a 4k fun run. Unless you sustained a grotesque injury during the race — we'll take a look at a shot of that.
Asking For Money
It's great that you started a business/website/app/lemonade stand/Kickstarter/massage parlor, but asking your friends for money — especially the giant swath of your Facebook pseudo-friends — is always a faux pas. So please, no blanket invitations to shop at your online jewellery store.
There are two people who truly care about this, and you are one of them. You can probably surmise who the other one is without using Facebook. See "Personal messages to your significant other" above.
New Phone Number
Helpful: letting everyone know you can't be reached by phone because you dropped it in a toilet or it fell off a cliff or whatever. Cool, we'll know to hit you via email instead. Not helpful: asking that everyone send you their phone numbers because you lost your phone and can't be bothered to actually ask us personally. Losing your phone is actually a great excuse to rebuild your phone book with people you truly care about! If you can't remember who to ask, odds are you don't need to be calling or texting those people anymore.
Not even because it's ironic, but because it makes you look like a sidewalk Rapture street-shouter. Nothing makes you look less So over Facebook like taking to Facebook to express your disapproval of Facebook. Or its privacy policies.
Noticing a pattern here? This might be the only time in your life 150 people will like a status update (unless you're selected to join a manned mission to Mars). Either way, it's a LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME move. Change your relationship status if you really want some indicator on your Timeline. Any kind of status message beyond that is self-indulgent and irritating. You're also broadcasting your upcoming marriage to hundreds of people who won't be invited to the wedding. That isn't very nice either.
When it doubt, use the golden rule. Stay away from things nobody but you cares to know about or celebrate. Then, Facebook will continue to be a firehose of semi-interesting life gristle, instead of a dump truck full of tripe.
User Manual is Gizmodo's guide to etiquette.