Robin Raskin is the founder of Living in Digital Times, a conference and events program that looks at the intersection of life and technology. She is the former editor of PC Magazine (when it was printed), FamilyPC and Yahoo!Tech. Book author, TV and radio personality, and magazine and web blogger, Robin has never met a media she didn’t love. Follow her @robinr.
Is your social media behavior cringe-worthy? Will you look back on your 140 characters today with remorse tomorrow? There’s no one arbiter of good taste on social media. In fact, ‘experts’ have been doling out advice since the Internet came into being. From Ann Landers writing about Internet addiction in 1998 to manners maven Emily Post and her kids and grandkids who are trying to bring good mannered sensibility to the Internet.
My credentials aren’t impeccable manners but the school of hard knocks, beginning with a 300 baud modem and a BBS connection. I’m no Internet native, but I have learned a few things about social media manners which I’m happy to share. In fact, let’s make it a group effort, so feel free to chime in below.
Googling: Try not to indulge more than you have to; your brain gets rusty from lack of use. Really think about who starred in Mary Poppins before you race to look it up. You’ll be better for it.
Tattling: Are you your brother’s social media keeper? The photo with too much cleavage, the beer bottle shot? Limit the pictures you post of other people, especially their past. If someone is posting old pictures of you, the first line of attack should be to talk directly to the offenders about over-sharing. If they de-friend you, you’ve tried. If they tell you “you overshare, too,” they’re probably right.
Relationships: Tell your good friends about your breakup before you change your relationship status. They hate feeling like they had to learn it online. And don’t be the first in your relationship to rush to status change — doing it together shows maturity.
Posting Family Photos: If they’re old enough to answer in the affirmative, then ask permission before posting. Be especially mindful of bathroom, bikini or paunch shots they’ll loathe you for.
Bragging: Vacations, weddings and other shared family photos probably bore your OWN family. Edit judiciously before sharing.
Mobile Photography: You’re “in the moment”. They’re not. Make sure the photo is focused and recognizable before hitting the share button.
Sympathy: Posting a notice about a death of a friend or relative is alright. The outpouring of support is fantastic. As for offering condolences, it’s fine to memorialize on Facebook — even helpful.
Social Media — In General: As they said about after-school activities when I was applying to college: Limit yourself to three — do one really well.