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Social media isn’t just for teenagers and college kids anymore. As of January 2018, 69% of U.S. adults used at least one social media platform. Since 2017 the use of Facebook among people 65 years old has risen 14%. Just like any other space like a fancy restaurant or a movie theater, there is a certain set of unspoken rules that people are expected to adhere to when interacting on a social website. While these rules might be easily navigated by those who grew up using social media, it can be a little trickier for those who are entering the social media world for the first time. Let’s take a look at some social media etiquette so you can avoid committing a faux pas.
Be Careful about Oversharing
Social media gives you the opportunity to communicate with friends and loved ones online–that’s the whole point. Many people think that being in a digital space is like the Wild West where rules don’t apply and act accordingly by sharing posts without considering others.
The best rule of thumb to consider before making a post on a social media platform is “would I say this to someone in-person?” Whether it’s a post about something that has offended you, a friend or family, or something you heard on the news, it’s important to edit your thoughts before they go out on the internet for all to see.
If you have news that someone shared with you in confidence, like a marriage proposal or birth announcement, remember that it’s their news and it would be considered rude to take away their opportunity to share it when they are ready. Conversely, if you have a bone to pick with someone, it’s best to settle it in person or over the phone rather than airing dirty laundry over the internet. Even if you’re fine with making a private matter public, it can escalate situations beyond anyone’s control and can deepen divides to the point of no return.
The last thing you want to avoid is sharing controversial opinions that might alienate you from friends, family, and co-workers. Remember that anything you say can be saved by someone else and cause a backlash. Before you hit “send”, take a step back and consider whether your post is worth getting in an argument with a stranger on the internet.
Ask Before You Post a Picture
One of the greatest parts of social media is the fact that friends and family can share pictures, so even if you live far away, it can feel like they live right next door. When it comes to posting pictures on your social media feed, there are a few things to consider. Post all the selfies you like, but when other people are in your pictures, it’s considered polite to ask before you post them. They might find the picture unflattering or just not want it up on the internet for all to see.
It’s pretty common to hear people ask if it’s okay to post a picture, so nobody will think you are weird for asking. When it comes to pictures of children, this is doubly true. Parents usually want to protect the privacy of their children. It’s also important not to include any personal details of a child as this could put them at risk if seen by the wrong person.
When you do have permission to post a picture of a friend, you will be given the option of tagging your friend. Once the picture is posted and your friend wants to be tagged, they can either do it themselves or ask you to do it. The basic rule is simple if you want to post a picture of somebody, ask first–post later.
Don’t Just Consider Your Words
It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. One example of this is using all caps when typing. While you might think that you are being different or putting emphasis on an important topic, others will just think that you’re yelling. It’s commonly interpreted that typing in all caps equals yelling and that you are angry about something. Just don’t do it.
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