New Rules of Social Media Etiquette


Although social media, as we see it today, has been here for less than a decade, its meaning and role shifted significantly and now it is more important and influential than ever. And while some behaviors were considered inappropriate a few years ago, today they are the norm. We’re not going into detail on how social networks have changed, but it is essential to understand how to change our own social media presence in order to be relevant.  

Gossip and “stalking”

Several years ago, we used to peek at our friends’ photos and conversations secretly and almost felt like we were stalking them. And all the news we got from Facebook – about a friend got married or broke up a relationship, and even more juicy ones, weren’t something to share with others. But no one will judge you are browsing photos on Instagram in your lunch break. And gossiping isn’t exactly gossiping anymore – if you’ve seen it, then hundreds of others have seen it too. If there’s some information on the Internet, it’s supposed to be seen. So, feel free to admit you know the news from social media, but get the details a bit wrong – no one should know you’re really that interested.

Tagging and checking in locations

A few years back, we were all telling the world where exactly we were located and not only where we were, but also with whom. We used to share all kinds of information about us and we continue to do this in most cases, but now we’re more careful. Ask before naming your friend’s house geolocation on Instagram. The dangers of the Internet are much more today, or at least we’re better aware.

Tagging your friends (and enemies)

The old rule said you should ALWAYS ask the person before tagging them on a photo. There’s no need any more – if your friends don’t like the ugly pictures, they can simply de-tag themselves. Now, you can tag everyone, including your enemies. Yes, unlike 2008, we’re connected even with our enemies in social media. Tag your enemies with the wrong names to create confusion, frustration and even anger. Besides, Facebook will most probably start tagging us all automatically very soon.

Revelations about real life

We used to comment our friends’ real-life stories and events on social media, because real life was way better than almost made-up online accounts. Real life is no longer a relevant topic. If your friends want to share some personal information with the Internet community, they will do it themselves. Don’t tweet about their achievements or downfalls – it’s up to them. Instead, tweeting or commenting a meme or a gif is much, much cooler.

DC - Twitter bannerUsing personal hashtags

Hashtags were used mostly by companies and brands, while creating a hashtag for your birthday party was seen as… desperate. Not anymore! Hashtags aren’t ads – they are convenience and a necessity. Tweeting about your upcoming wedding? Everyone who loves and cares about you will want all the details, so creating a #JohnsonsWedding2015 is essential.

Crossing social streams

Using various social media platforms all at once is new, because we now have an easier way accessing them. But it’s really annoying to see someone texting you in different websites and apps, as if they are obsessed with you. This creepy behavior is unfortunately very common. If your message is really important, try reaching the person on Facebook. If don’t receive an answer, try Viber and ask them whether they have seen your post.

There are many other rules of the social media etiquette, but these six are commonly broken usually by people who don’t understand today’s role of social networks and apps in our lives. It is important, but sometimes being silent on social media is a better tactic.


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