Social Media Netiquette

22 Apr

We now live in the social media age. While it’s true that it unifies the world and brings like-minded individuals for a cause, it has its own demerits when it comes to information sharing, identity safety and cyber-related issues.

Our social network behaviour is important. It’s as important as your behaviour in real life because you share with and meet people online in real-time, and the information exchange happens as soon as you hit the “send” button.


Some of the social networking apps I access on my phone.

So what is social media netiquette? It’s our behaviour online, how we act and manage social media online. I have seen and cringed at several posts online made by contacts and/or acquaintances. They are NOT good.

I have enumerated 10 basic and easy-to-remember rules of social media netiquette for all social media enthusiasts out there:

1) Don’t overshare. Too much information is like adding spoonful after spoonful of sugar to your coffee. Not all people in your network would like to know what’s in your shopping bag, in your purse, what you ate in between breakfast and lunch or what your distant relative wore at your cousin’s best friend’s wedding. Or what you and your boyfriend did during a drive up to the mountains while listening to the radio.

2) Mind your comments. Don’t start controversial comments on your friend’s photos or activities online. If you really are a friend and you have something to say, send a private message or text that friend. Avoid being in an awkward situation where you’d start a thread of, yes, awkward comments and reactions. If you’re aching for a snide remark, do it in private. Better yet, don’t do it. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

3) Don’t abuse your network(s). There’s a reason why they’re connected to you and somehow, these days, it’s difficult to draw a line between personal contacts, friends, associates and acquaintances, especially on Facebook. Keep personal favours within your “circle of trust” (family and close friends) so don’t go asking even the people you’re not really close to for part-time nannies and bikini waxing salons.

4) Don’t tell the whole world about your relationship problems! I had to use “!” to indicate the importance of this rule. I have read nasty status updates from a wife, targeting her husband and a female friend. Apparently, the husband and the female friend had an affair. And more details were revealed in every status update. The wife’s network felt bad and offered comforting words online but the “heat” was just prolonged online like a low-budget soap opera. Don’t wash your dirty linen in public. Period.

Oh, and yeah, they (the wife and husband) made up, too. What a waste of Internet bandwidth!

5) Research before you post. Or Google it up. Come on, if you’re unsure of a certain spelling, a fact or what-have-you, Google it up! Wrong information, misspelled words may be acceptable at times, but irritatingly annoying most of the time. If there is a too-good-to-be-true post that’s circulating on Facebook or Instagram, and you are unsure whether the picture is fake or not, don’t just re-post without doing your homework.

6) Remember the KISS rule. When you post a travel picture, a yummy dish you just tried, be truthful about your posts and sound friendly in your captions. Keep It Short and Simple. Don’t appear like you’re bragging or an expert (like it’s your first time to try Bikram yoga and you’re already claiming it’s the best yoga there is, when you haven’t even tried other forms). Take note that you may have contacts who have been practicing yoga for years, so there are real experts out there, who have more relevant things to say or share. A brief and concise description is better than having lengthy, or worse, mistakes-filled text!

7) Family matters are dealt with at home, not online. So if your mom doesn’t want you to go the concert or your dad prohibits you from seeing this guy at school, don’t vent online. They are your parents and a million online replies from friends is not going to change that.

8) Be careful about the photos you post. Having a picture of you half-naked and drunk at a bar on Facebook, Instagram or Flickr is not good. Just remember that not all “friends” in your social networks are friends in real life. You wouldn’t want to have a trashy image when you apply for a job, would you? Or when someone Googles you up. Also, don’t tag friends in bad photos. You wouldn’t want to be tagged in one, too. Sad thing is, we all have one.

9) Do respond to comments on your posts. A simple “thanks” for a “nice shirt” comment is acknowledging the person’s time and effort to post.

10) Social media is not the be-all and end-all. Relationships are more meaningful with time spent together, and face-to-face interactions are way better at sustaining friendships than wall messaging, post commenting or activities “liking”. Get out and have fun!

There are lots more to take note of, I’m sure. What are your rules?

Blogging from my side of the globe,



4 Responses to “Social Media Netiquette”

  1. Photography Journal Blog 22/04/2013 at 7:31 pm #

    I know everyone handles their online life a bit differently, but these seem like some good basic tips 🙂


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