10 rules of social media etiquette

From an early age, the various forms of social etiquette are drilled into our heads: Say please and thank you. Don’t chew with your mouth open. The list goes on and on.

But when it comes to etiquette of the social media sphere that now inhabits our daily lives, we are relative newborns and some of us just haven’t quite figured it out yet. Not to fear, after perusing multiple blogs, online forums and magazines, I have compiled 10 of the most outrageous social media faux pas and how to best avoid these breaches of social media etiquette.

1. It’s social media, NOT solo media: The first and probably most important courtesy while firing up twitter, facebook, instagram and anything else under our gigantic social media umbrella is to remember the essence of what you are doing. Social is the first word in this new age catch phrase “social media”. Avoid the solo conversations with yourself over your various platforms. Avoid being a glory seeker. The purpose of this new tool we have been granted is to  facilitate connections and dialogue with other people, businesses and brands. No one wants to read/see/retweet a monologue of your life’s inconsequential details.

2.Communication: Ultimately, Social Media is a tool for connecting and communicating on our vast and glorious information highway. Thousands upon thousands of people are able to access the content you share on social media platforms; therefore, the things you share should be said/posted/tweeted eloquently. There is nothing worse than reading someone’s facebook status that is littered with short forms (“lol” “nvm” “brb”). If you’re communicating a sentiment, a whereabout, a passion,  please do it clearly. Cut out the MSN lingo, unless your 140 characters is running out quickly. That is the ONLY time an “lol” is acceptable. Maybe.

3. Instagram foodies: As the self-proclaimed foodie of inanutshell, this  particular social media no-no tugs at my heart, but simply cannot be ignored.


I love food. I live, breathe, read, talk about and photograph food. Does everybody want to see a series of photos of your scrambled eggs and toast? Probably not. Not even if it has a valencia hue to it. No body cares. Stop doing it.

4. The Pity Seeker: Fall is around the corner, which also means that flu season is riding its tail coats. Nothing upsets and disgusts me more than reading facebook statuses about how bedridden, snot-drenched and congested you are. Stay in bed. Watch a flick. Drink some chicken noodle soup. But for the love of god, sickies, stay off facebook.

5. Vain hashtags: You may think you’re great. Your mom may think you’re great. But announcing this to the world through the use of #vainhashtags is embarrassing. If you think you are beautiful enough to use any of the following hashtags you should probably close your twitter account and delete all of your facebook friends to save them from rolling their eyes at your own vanity: #fitgirlproblems #hotgirlproblems #malemodelclub #handsomeandiknowit #toohotformyowngood

6. Awkward selfies: Unfortunately, this social media faux pas extends over every single social media platform. To my dismay, it seems that wherever I turn, someone has posted a sexy smoulder on instagram, a look at me in my bikini twitpic or a duckface facebook profile picture. It is awkward to see these self portraits and then imagine how much time you might have wasted staring at the camera, in your  very own hand, to get the perfect, awakrd selfy. It makes the entire social media world squirmish. Enough said.

7. Personal Problems: Much like my distaste for knowing the read on your body temperature, I also don’t want to know about your lastest bad break-up, fight with your bestie or over all negative nancy attitude. This will immediately garner you an unfriend on any/all social media sites. Positivity is key and reading about how much of an asshole Kevin is for cheating on you with your best friend does not uplift my mood nor make me want to continue following your saga of a life.

8. The unwelcome hashtag: I LOVE a good hashtag. I think they can be the best online vessel for communicating a sense of wit or humour. With that said, hashtags should be used in moderation. An entire tweet composed of hashtags makes me anxious. Much worse is to see hashtags used all over pinterest and instagram, but the facebook offenders are the worst by far. Basically equating twitter with facebook, these offenders will litter the interweb with usually boring, uncreative hash tags, what some would call: #hashtaghappy. Moderation my friends.

9. Careless users: By all means, use social media to share and engage with friends and followers, but under no circumstance should you  ever share or retweet something that you haven’t either read or researched yourself. Social media carelessness can result in an array of problems from recieveing negative feedback to losing followers and a diminished network. Make sure to do a background check, even if it’s brief, before you retweet or share something that mayh not accurately reflect your personal views.

10. Share the Love: The last thing and possibly the most important rule of social media etiquette is sharing the love. If someone retweets or shares your social media content you should feel inclined to return the favour. And even if you don’t feel that way, you should still do it. It is a basic courtesy, the way that social media is meant to operate and, in the long run, will garner you a wider networking circle.

In a nutshell, these simple rules will keep you out of social media trouble and keep your followers and friends happy!


One thought on “10 rules of social media etiquette

  1. A few months ago (possibly around exam-time) someone posted on facebook “Uhhh…. don’t want to live anymore” or something to that effect. It’s not someone I know well, and I just couldn’t be sure if she was exaggerating or if she was actually depressed and trying to reach out to people – with her, it could easily be either one. So I felt compelled to take the time to formulate an acceptable reply.

    If she does this again, I’m going to send her a private message and tell her “don’t put that s— on facebook unless you’re actually depressed and actually don’t want to live anymore.”

    So IMHO, personal problems are the worst. Even if they’re not as careless and demanding as hers, they just put a little bit of grump into my day. The hashtags and the clutter and the “hurr durr home with the flu nobody else has ever had this bad of a stuffed-up nose as what I have now” posts are certainly annoying, but grumpy people take the cake because they’re actively adding negativity to my life. Don’t need ’em – I’m too busy being shiny and awesome.

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