Social Media Rules and Etiquette

Social Media Handbook

I came across an article about Instagram updates recently, which got me thinking about common sense, rules and etiquette in the world of social media. This article mentioned a few Instagram updates of course, but went on to mention a couple of particularly nasty incidences of people being, quite frankly, terrible human beings. Most of you probably realize what is and is not acceptable to post on social media, but I don’t think it hurts for all of us to have a quick refresher.

So without further ado, here are a few basic guidelines that apply to everyone using any form of social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…and the internet in general.

Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see

This may be a bit trite, but if you’re thinking about posting something and you aren’t sure if you should…think about your grandma (or other relative that would frown on any behavior a few notches below respectful). If you post that photo to Instagram or retweet that dubious article on Twitter, would you be okay with your grandma seeing it? Or would you be absolutely horrified and/or embarrassed? If you’re thinking you’re glad Grandma doesn’t have Twitter, then it’s probably best not to post it. Unless you’re Howard Stern or some other brash personality (but that’s a blog post for another day).

Be kind

There are millions of posts out there in social media world that probably never should have been posted to begin with. It’s so easy for someone to hide behind a computer or phone screen and spout hate or unnecessarily negative comments. It should go without saying but, don’t do that. Be kind, and to add a social media twist to a well-known cliche… If you can’t post anything nice (or at least figure out a way to tactfully state your opinion) then don’t post anything at all.

Give credit

Did you read a fantastic article on someone’s blog recently? Great, feel free to share in most cases! But if you do decide to share, or even create your own blog post about it, make sure to provide credit to the original author when appropriate. That may be as simple as a quick mention with a link to the original article, or you might insert a direct quote along with the name of the author and their website. If you’re posting it to Facebook, sharing the link to the article ought to do the trick since links auto-populate for you in Facebook.

Don’t be a troll

If you’re a 90’s kid, you might be picturing those odd little creatures with pink hair right about now but I’m talking about a different kind of troll. I’m talking about the kind of troll who purposely posts provocative or downright mean comments on other peoples’ social media profiles to start an argument. Or maybe they just want attention, who knows. It’s completely fine, and even a good thing, to disagree with someone’s Facebook post. Just make sure you disagree or state your opinion in a tactful way, without baiting someone to get into an argument just because you like arguments and making people feel bad about themselves. Those types of trolls are definitely not desirable!

These short social media guidelines are (hopefully) mostly common sense, but sometimes it is nice to have a refresher. Or if you’re just starting out in the world of social media, these are helpful guidelines for you to remember. And if all else fails, you know you can contact me for help with your social media needs!

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