A term used on a popular social networking site called Facebook, it means to reach out and virtually touch someone. Basically when you "poke" a friend on Facebook, all it means is that person receives a message saying you poked them. Like "tweeps" on Twitter, "pokers" is slang for your friends on Facebook.
While "poking" is a popular way to interact with your friends on Facebook, it can mean different things to different people and it can have a sexual connotation. (If you think there's room for misinterpretation, it's safer not to poke at all.) For those of you not clear Facebook's unwritten social rules, read on.
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when interacting on Facebook:
- Choose your friends wisely because it is considered rude to delete someone as a friend. If you're unsure, it's more acceptable to not accept the initial invitation.
- Poke carefully because this interactive features means different things to different people. It depends on what your relationship is with the person originally. It can be used as a business tool to build rapport with colleagues and clients, but it is more famous for having a sexual connotation.
- Respect people's privacy, especially if you are a parent and your teenager is on Fcebook. Instead of asking to be your teenager's friend using Facebook (which could be perceived as an invasion of privacy), instead tell them you set up an account and let them decide whether to become your Facebook friend.
- Be aware of what you post because a message posted on the "wall" section at the bottom of a profile page can be read by anyone. A general rule is that if it's not appropriate for someone's boss to read, then don't post it. (FYI: If someone posts something questionable on YOUR wall, you can delete it.)
- Be sure and upload a photo of yourself as this really helps people to connect a face with a name. Also, it's much more appealing to look at a photo than the default blue question mark used for those who don't post a picture.
- Take advantage of the high degree of control over what people see. For example, you can adjust your privacy settings if you want to limit who can and cannot see certain photos.
- Don't overdo friend requests. Even though Facebook makes it easy to upload your contacts (and automatically issue friend requests to a whole address list) it's not meant to be misused.
- Another no-no is flooding your network with status updates. Each new update you post appears on your friends' news feeds so it's best to show a little restraint (as in no more than two updates per day).
- Finally, don't be creepy in the sense that even if you share similar music interests with a nice 20-year-old, it doesn't mean she wants to be your friend. The best rule of thumb is to not make friend requests of strangers (especially ones who are significantly younger than you). Even if you know them, it's a better idea to wait and let young people take the lead.
Historical perspective: You can still poke your friends on Facebook but as of 2011, the feature is tucked away in the pull-down menu on a person's profile page.
People also use a lot of acronyms and text message shorthand on Facebook. In case you don't know what this jargon means, click on "more info" below for the NetLingo list of chat acronyms and text messaging shorthand!
NetLingo Classification: Online Jargon