You might or might not be surprised to find that in today’s digital era, etiquette extends past business dinners and weddings, to social media. With the rise of social media platforms and smartphones, we’re increasingly tempted to share more of our everyday lives with others online. Therefore, it’s increasingly important that we follow basic social networking “rules of engagement.” Social Media Etiquette – The Top 5 Rules of Engagement
Here are some of the top “do’s” related to social media etiquette. They’re harder to follow than you’d think!
1. Handle your accounts with the same professionalism as you would your job.
Even if you are sharing your accounts with friends only, you should still be aware that everything you do and say still has the potential to haunt you. As a rule of thumb, post information that you wouldn’t be embarrassed sharing with a boss or parental figure. Also consider posting a more professional profile photo if possible, versus a provocative selfie. Your account settings might make your account private, but businesses are often able to view your profile photo.
2. If you can’t say it to every one of your friends’ faces, don’t say it online.
Yes, social media platforms are for communicating your thoughts to your friends and followers. But, there are limits. Don’t hash out fights publicly—breakups especially—because those notifications are often sent to your friends. If you’d be embarrassed by saying what you post out loud in person to any of your friends or followers, you shouldn’t post it. Avoid the most-hated posts by not posting statuses that are negative, self-deprecating, vague, explicit or pompous.
3. Be careful when tagging friends.
While a post or photo may pass your own personal “to-post-or-not-to-post” test, that doesn’t mean that your friend wants your online friends or followers to see what you are doing together (much less his or her own friends). If you’re unsure of whether or not to tag someone in a photo or a post, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to ask for permission first—likely the person will appreciate the thought. Usually, though, a friend or colleague will be up-front with you on what they are comfortable sharing online.
4. Use correct grammar.
Just because you’re limited to 140 characters or less on social media sites like Twitter doesn’t mean you can’t use correct grammar when possible. Some longer words require abbreviations in order to finish a full thought, but write in full words and sentences if you have room. If you are posting on the go, take more time to proofread your posts before you hit send. People might question your intelligence if you continue posting mistake-riddled updates (or, posts in all-caps for that matter).
5. Don’t ditch real-life experiences for social media.
This is the rule of engagement that is broken the most frequently. Don’t be so distracted by technology and posting that perfect shot of your event that you miss the overall in-person experience. When you are playing with your phone rather than maintaining contact with the person or group you’re with, you aren’t showing others that you value their time. You might also be missing some prime time to network with new people who could help you out in the future.