Feature: The New Social Etiquette
While I'm not an etiquette expert by any stretch, the rules of social media - much like those in real life - are generally common sense. Or so you'd think. It can be a fine line between something being considered offensive or inappropriate, and we very rarely think before we hit 'post'. With the Essena O'Neill story still continuing, many are examining what we do on social media - how we present ourselves, and how it affects our reality. There are general faux pas online - liking your own pictures or double tapping a post from that friend's ex-boyfriend's brother's fiance.
Then there's those that are offensive, inappropriate or unprofessional.
We examine the new social media etiquette for our generation - aka how not to make a complete fool of yourself online.
S T A T U S M I S U S E
Also applies to Twitter. On the hitlist: fishing for attention/sympathy (think being vague or overly dramatic); oversharing, complaining about arbitrary problems - we've all been in a traffic jam, calm down - and venting about relationship issues. We're here for you - but it's not the place.
While we swear by a good vent (preferably accompanied by wine), if you're going to use your phone to vent, you're better off texting a friend. 20 likes won't improve your mood, and you leave yourself vulnerable to backlash from whoever you're 'subtly' talking about.
R E S P E C T
Aretha knows best. Whether racism, bullying or anything that can be considered offensive, be respectful and exercise restraint on all platforms.
And don't involve children either. Solange Knowles recently fired back after a user commented on an Instagram photo of her son calling him 'ugly'. If you wouldn't say it to someone on the street, don't hide behind your screen.
While of course you're entitled to an opinion, think before you react to an event or post. Avoid the caveat of 'it's just my opinion' too - because much like prefacing something with the phrase 'no offense', it doesn't remove responsibility for anything. Plus, don't get involved if you don't know your facts or the complete version of events. By the same token, be tolerant of ignorance and don't land yourself in trouble by sticking your nose in it.
B O A S T I N G
More isn't always better. We're already internally jealous of your lavish holiday or walk-in robe the size our our houses, but sharing picture after picture is only going to make your friends/followers annoyed.
Take a step back before you post yet another.
T A G G I N G
While a precious few people in your life may not mind you tagging them in less-than-flattering photos from last night (these are keepers right here, take note), most don't appreciate seeing them show up on Insta feed with a banging headache. This is why they invented private messaging - make use of it.
It's a slightly different protocol for Facebook. As you now have to approve tagged photos and statues - and can remove tags easily - it's less of an issue, but if you're not quite sure, don't do it.
P R I V A C Y
Be transparent and respect boundaries. Don't post any incriminating Vines, Snaps or videos to YouTube that you wouldn't be happy seeing online of yourself. However innocuous it might seem.
Likewise (and this is common sense anyway)- if a text pops up on someone's phone and you happen to read it, just keep it to yourself.
C O U R T E S Y
Not texting during meals is basically our generations' keeping your elbows off the table. Sometime it's just out and out polite to put down your phone. There are moments in your life when it's okay for it not to be in your hand (we know, it feels like you're naked, but you can deal). Coffee shops, banks, supermarkets - all the people who work in these places not-so-secretly hate you for using this while they're trying to serve you.
Timing is everything. And we're not talking about synchronising your perfectly coordinated burger shot with lunchtime for peak jealousy among your peers. Don't check your phone during meetings or interviews (and have it on silent, not vibrate, please) - and generally try to keep your hands away from it.
While we're here - smartphones at concerts. Sure, you want to make everyone envious with your endless Snapchats and Instas. We get it. But shoving your glowing screen in someone's face for the entire time is a surefire way to be 'that' hated person at the gig. Also applies to sombreros but we won't even get into that.
P R O F E S S I O N A L I S M
Plain and simple - don't create a PR nightmare for your employer because you couldn't keep yourself in check after a couple of champagnes.