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The three ways Facebook hurts people’s feelings most

Social networking sites may be a little more like real-life encounters than they’re often given credit. Like a real conversation or exchange between friends, strangers, and acquaintances there is as much chance for a positive experience on a site such as Facebook as there is a negative one.

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Masterfile

Social networking sites may be a little more like real-life encounters than they’re often given credit. Like a real conversation or exchange between friends, strangers, and acquaintances there is as much chance for a positive experience on a site such as Facebook as there is a negative one. 

When it comes to the hurt gossip can cause, social networking may even have a slight advantage. An article on the NYTimes recently pointed out how some small town residents have begun to use Facebook as a kind of intensely destructive gossip hub, in which rumours spread “anonymously” like wildfire and create havoc in people’s personal lives. 
But there are also less painful incidents online that tend to annoy or cause hurt feelings—sometimes unintentionally. One recent study (via LATimes.com) identified three of the more negative experiences users complain about. 
University of Arizona researcher Robert S. Tokunaga asked just under 200 students to share their personal experiences with social networking sites. After analyzing their responses he isolated three most commonly cited negative experiences. 
Not surprisingly, the first one was submitting a friend request only to have it ignored or denied (ouch). The second most hurtful: when a friend deletes a public message (i.e. scrubs their wall of your comment) and/or removes an identification tag from a picture or post. The third most common negative experience was seeing a “Top Friends” list and finding yourself ranked low on the scale or not at all. 
If you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings it may be wise to take the survey findings to heart and try and avoid committing the three acts mentioned. But that may not be entirely realistic or fair either, as occasionally friends and acquaintances say some pretty inappropriate things that almost demand a scrubbing out (I’ll admit: I’ve deleted a post or two). And sometimes you just don’t want to be friends with some people who reach out to you. 
Tokunaga feels the information can only help people make more informed, responsible decisions online. He advises people to think twice before they unintentionally hurt people’s feelings. Said Tokunaga:  “It is not advisable to engage in these acts without presenting a legitimate reason for the behaviours”.

Do you know anyone who has had their feelings hurt through Facebook? Please share your stories here.