Social Media Proposal: The Office Christmas Party Protocol


How many times have you been to the office Christmas party and been pleasantly engaged in conversation about the family, the holiday, and so forth, only to have the other person suddenly and loudly yell, “SCOTT WALKER SUCKS DONKEY SWEAT!” to which you reply “YEAH? WELL BARACK OBAMA IS A HONEY BADGER!”??

What, that hasn’t happened to you?

Funny thing, it hasn’t happened to me, either. Maybe our office parties are more tame than most, but I’d bet that these incidents are rare and usually occur only between two people who just don’t quite “get” decorum.

And yet that’s what happens on on an alarmingly frequent basis on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. For some reason, that’s an acceptable use of these sites. We accept that your Facebook newsfeed, chock full of pleasantries surrounding your neighbors, friends, acquaintances, co-workers and so forth, may be suddenly interrupted by the most vile or insulting or controversial posting, something you’d never say at the office Christmas party. People who wouldn’t even think about approaching these topics face-to-face suddenly find their voice in front of their 400 closest friends.

I’ve done it before, but I’m done with that. It’s annoying to me, and it was probably annoying to you, too.

So I propose a new protocol called the Office Christmas Party Protocol (or the Office Holiday Party Protocol if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing). It is simply this:

If you wouldn’t say it to your boss at the Office Christmas Party, don’t say it on Facebook or Twitter.

Use this as a guide in your posting.

If you still must air these thoughts, please do so on a blog where people will seek to read your thoughts on these matters. You can set up a free blog at

For myself, I’m going to go one step further. If you’re a frequent OCPP offender, I’m going to hide your posts because, quite frankly, I don’t need more controversy in my life; the mainstream media of all flavors takes care of that already. I don’t need more of your liberal/libertarian/conservative bull(crap) in my newsfeed.

So I’m going to institute a three-strikes policy. You won’t know it, of course, but after three posts which break the OCPP, I’ll hide your posts. I won’t unfriend you, because that breaks all ties, which I’m unwilling to do.

I still know you, after all, and I’d like to still be friends… civil friends, that is, who wouldn’t insult each others’ ideologies face to face and shouldn’t do it in a virtual world, either.

On a somewhat-related note, if you start a blog whose focus is one topic but veer off into OCPP-voilating territory, I’ll stop reading your blog and I’ll be vocal about it. And you won’t care, I’m sure—but I’ll be all the happier for it.

Strike one.

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