Social Media etiquette so far isn’t something that we are taught. It is time to change that attitude.
Social Media Etiquette: learning as we go
Holy cow – it’s like we have to go back to school sometimes isn’t it? We really are learning as we go how best to engage and communicate with each other online.
Although there are technically “no rules” we can ensure our own well being and that of others by using simple common sense. Good manners will go a long way towards making our online experiences more positive.
It is particularly important that we teach our children that the manners we use in our daily lives are the same whether online or off line. Being respectful of each other should be foremost in our daily activities.
All it takes is simply to be thoughtful of others.
We have identified 5 common personal social media etiquette mistakes that are worth having a discussion about within your family. Have you made these mistakes before? They are easy to do, but just as easy to avoid.
1. Don’t make announcements that are not yours to make!
One of the worse things you can do is to jump online to post a picture of a wedding, new baby or make an announcement that isn’t your own personal one. Whilst many people do now choose to use social media as a way to let people know of events, it is important to respect the rights of others. In particular where someone is ill or there has been a death, emotions can be high. Allow the family time to let people know in their own way, and don’t make a public comment until they do (or ask permission to first).
It can create a lot of additional stress for a family to have other family members or friends upset because they read about something online from a secondary source.
Respect the right of a bride not to post images of the wedding party without permission and please don’t stream live events without permission.
Respect must be paramount.
2. Hijacking a discussion with unrelated matters
Be mindful of jumping into an active discussion and turning the topic over to meet your own needs. We often see this where someone might really want to engage with a particular person they see commenting, so they jump in with their own unrelated questions or topics. This is just like having someone interrupt your conversation without so much as an excuse me. Remember your manners, and if you do accidently turn a conversation, apologise and then invite the discussion on a new thread.
3. Publicly calling someone out or embarrassing them
Just because you are annoyed with someone, doesn’t make it right to make an announcement designed to embarrass or humiliate. Your teen might have a messy room, but it is not positive reinforcement to tag them in an image of their room asking them to clean it up for example.
Posting embarrassing images of others, even your children is not cool either. Unless you have their permission, it is best to keep those photos for private giggles away from other eyes. Images you post today can come back to haunt someone tomorrow.
Always consider how you would feel in a situation and again, be respectful.
4. Sharing of spammy competitions and posts
So many computer viruses and malware can be spread through spammy posts, so it is it important that we try and identify which posts are safe to share and which are not. (If you are even not sure, please feel free to ask our advice, we are always happy to investigate).
If a competition seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many spammers will create pages based on names of known companies and businesses, so check out the details before sharing. A page that only has post after post of competitions is always a warning sign.
As a general rule, airlines for example do not give away random tickets on Facebook.
Be wary of fake news sites which are actually meant to be satirical but are taken as truthful. Posts with sensationalised headlines such as “you won’t believe what she does next” are generally clickbait and designed to make you click so that the page earns advertising income, or in order to share material which is collecting your data.
5. Ditch the hate
Attacking someone verbally for a different point of view is never cool. Don’t be a hater. We can all learn from respectful discussion. We are able to learn much about each other, but just because someone has a different political, religious or other belief to you, doesn’t mean you should attack them. If invited through comment, by all means add to the discussion with fact, but don’t spread hate.
Social Media etiquette is not a dirty phrase
As our off line and online worlds continue to merge to create new opportunities and expand our ability to communicate, the use of good social media etiquette becomes an essential skill. With no borders we need to make sure that future generations are able to cross communicate to enable global education and learning which is safe and beneficial to all.
Social media etiquette is not just Facebook
It is important to understand that each different online platform tends to develop some of its own characteristics as to what is acceptable to be shared in the online space. Always take the time to read any guidelines for a platform, group or forum to help make your experience, and that of others, a positive one.
The areas we have covered can really be applied across the board. They are general and relate to the way we personally engage in the online space.
Please feel free to share with us any others that you have come across.
You may also enjoy reading this article on sharing images of your children here.
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