Facebook etiquette: to tag or not to tag?
December 23, 2013 1:57 AM   Subscribe

Is tagging OK when you want to make sure that specific people will see (or, at least, be notified about) a specific post? Even if it would mean tagging about 20-30 people...

I sorta have a love-hate relationship with Facebook and social media in general. I use it mostly for professional reasons: to follow people whose work I find to be interesting and to share my own stuff every now and again. But I feel a tad clueless about it.

I have been working on a creative project that featured several people -- they have said they were pretty interested in seeing the finished product. They are also Facebook "friends". But, with the way Facebook works now, it's highly probable that my posts don't even show up on their feeds -- if they do, it's not a sure thing they will be seen, since these people have very large "friend" lists (their FBs are heavily used for promoting their own work -- which is not in the same industry as mine).

Tagging seems to be the easiest way. But I am not really sure about the whole etiquette behind tagging statuses other than photos (with photos, it's easy -- I never post pics of other people, let alone tag them). Isn't it too much to tag so many people at once?

Basically, help me make sure this reaches people without being seen as an irritating spammer.
posted by lost_lettuce to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're not doing it particularly often and you're framing it in a manner that's seeking feedback, for instance, I think you can tag a group of people like that. I've definitely been roped into conversations like that in the past that I otherwise would have missed. If they were actually involved in the project in some way, I think it's absolutely acceptable to tag them.
posted by disillusioned at 2:05 AM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm wary of facebook. I rarely post photos, and when I do I don't tag them. I get extremely irritated when others tag me in photos etc.

However, I would not have a problem with someone tagging me in the way you describe and it is not an unusual way of using tags.
posted by cincinnatus c at 2:33 AM on December 23, 2013

Yes, I did it recently to have a discussion of a similar nature. No one objected or even untagged themselves.
posted by tilde at 3:34 AM on December 23, 2013

I think the best solution here would be not to tag people in the actual post, but to tag them in the comments under the post. That way it brings the post to their attention without it being made public on their wall.
posted by greta simone at 3:42 AM on December 23, 2013 [16 favorites]

Yes, generally I think this type of tagging is just fine. I've appreciated it in the past when, as you pointed out, I might have missed a post if it was just part of the normal newsfeed.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that the people you tag will be publicly linked to your post unless they have chosen more restrictive privacy settings ahead of time, if I recall correctly. I do think it's rude to tag people in this way if your post related to an issue that is often kept private. For example I've seen posts like "There's a great support group for [sexuality/medical/addiction/etc issue] starting in our area! (tag, tag, tag) check this out!" which potentially "outs" people who may not be public about that stuff to their entire feed. Similarly, if you creative project is the type of thing someone's super conservative family might be offended by, tagging might be unwelcome.

Creating facebook events can also be used for this type of alert/promotion - for example you could create an event for "lost_lettuce's website launch" and "invite" your friends who have expressed interest. That might be another option for you, depending on the specifics of your project.
posted by horizons at 4:14 AM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm sure opinions differ on this, but I find it annoying being tagged in something I'm not "in". It sounds like everyone you want to tag is "in" this project, so I think it would be appropriate. If their involvement is limited to telling you they'd love to see it someday, however, I think tagging is probably not appropriate.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:12 AM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Clarification: the issue isn't private whatsoever and it is related to their own work, and these people were actually *in* the project.

I guess tagging will be okay, then. I'll probably do it in a comment, though, as per greta simone's suggestion, as it solves the issue of having my post all over their walls.

Thanks, everyone, for the input, and happy holidays.
posted by lost_lettuce at 5:20 AM on December 23, 2013

I would just email everyone who said they were interested and direct them to the facebook post about it.
posted by something something at 5:41 AM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I believe you can also pay a few dollars for a sponsored post, which ensures that it shows up on the newsfeeds of all of your friends.
posted by sockermom at 6:00 AM on December 23, 2013

I wouldn't "tag", but I would mention the people you want to bring it to the attention of in the comments. If you start typing their name, Facebook should auto-complete it, and when you submit the comment they'll be notified.

This is better than creating a fake tag in a photo, because that will cause the photo to show up in their "Photos of.." section on their profile. (I.e. Facebook will think that the photo in question is a photo of them.) So the correct way is just to mention them, not tag.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:26 AM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

It seems that Facebook's face-recognition software assumes that if it can find a face in the picture and people are tagged for the picture, then one of those faces will belong to one of those people.

Put it this way, there are a number of pics on Facebook in which I'm identified as a ginger cat. My wife, who knows I'm a bear, denies all responsibility.
posted by Hogshead at 7:54 AM on December 23, 2013

It's about a creative project you worked on with them? Go ahead and tag them! I fail to see any problem with this. (If someone happens to not want it on their timeline, they're free to delete it.)
posted by John Cohen at 8:22 AM on December 23, 2013

Don't tag 20 people in a facebook post. Send them a message with the relevant info.

If it's less than five people, sure, tag away.
posted by Sara C. at 9:47 AM on December 23, 2013

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