When it comes to social media, some are much savvier than others where social media etiquette is concerned. And, I’m sure you may agree, there is a slight correlation between generations and social media awareness. Being in my 20s, I grew up with MySpace and Bebo, making the transaction to the much more intrusive Facebook and Twitter etc., and was therefore quite accustomed to its pitfalls. I, like most people, have been guilty of the social media rant or over-share, but those who are too young and naïve, or those who are of a mature generation and just getting into it now, seem to fall into many social media etiquette no-nos. Not sure what I mean? Read on my friend…
1. The over-sexualised Selfie
Let’s start with the simplest rule of social media etiquette, the rules of the selfie. Yes, we all have gazed into the lens, struck a pose, used a flattering filter/angle/light to create a profile picture to show off our most favourable assets, and this isn’t a big deal. However, when the focus of your selfie is your cleavage, a comical trout pout or negligée- it isn’t a good look. Live by the simple rule: would you want your grandparents to see this picture? No? So why the hell do you put it on the internet!?
Hands-up, like previously mentioned, I have been guilty of the usually alcohol fueled rant. But, be aware, slating your ex, broadcasting your latest domestic dispute or slagging off your workplace and colleagues will bite you in the ass. It’s a great way to lose your job and respect. Keep it in mind.
3. Be Careful What You “like”
People can see the pages you “like” or follow. Announcing your interests can land you in trouble. If you like a Disney page, no harm, no foul…if you like a seedy bondage site, yup, we can see that too. I once came across an older middle aged gentleman I knew, well respected and sweet, who liked a page entitled “best sex scenes of 2012.” Needless to say, didn’t find him as sweet and innocent after that!
4. Photo Privacy
Being a teacher, this is one I’m aware of. I have holiday snaps on my page just like the most of us. My friends and family are welcome to have a look, and I'm not too concerned if they see a bit of flesh in a bikini pic or a tipsy topple on a night out. But, I do not want the 15 year olds I teach to happen upon such photos, putting myself in the line of fire, or under the watchful eye of parents. Keep your personal life personal, either be careful what you upload, or ensure your privacy settings only allow access for your intended audience.
5. Beware the Frape
When I was in university, an unattended, open profile was fair game for a prank. Questionable statuses, slightly offensive updates and ridiculous profile pictures were all part of the fun. This was part of being a student, of being under 21 and of living with people as silly as myself. Pranking someone via their profile can be funny, but be careful. Your prank may have long term repercussions for your victim.
This one really winds me up. Dropping all forms of punctuation and grammar just because you’re on a “social network” doesn’t make you look cool or in with the crowd…it makes you look illiterate. Stop it. Simple!
7. “Look! I’m Eating a Sandwich!”, “Guess What?! I’m Having a Pee!” and “aww Baby Girl Finally Did Her First Poo in a Potty!”
I’m sure your meal was delicious, and your bowel movement oh so satisfying – but do I need to know about it? No! Do I need to see a photo of it? NO. Need I go on? The other picture I’m sick of seeing, and don’t quite understand, is the ‘I’m on the toilet – see my knickers by my ankles?’ selfie! Seriously, someone PLEASE explain this one to me!
All these may sound ridiculous to those of you who are well accustomed to the cyber universe, but all the examples I’ve given above are ones that I’ve seen myself. Ladies, young and old, please consider these simple mistakes the next time your fingers do the talking…yes?