Welcome to the speeding world of connectivity. Where social media literally bridges you to friends, family, and strangers across the world. I can’t believe that I will be able to say to my children,
“When I was your age, we didn’t even have the Internet.”
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat have taken our world by storm to the point that a single status update or photo upload gets instant blast across the world wide web. But like Peter Parker’s uncle says, with great power comes great responsibility.
Your actions on social media don’t go without repercussions. Every time you post anything—thoughts, images, memes, calls to action—you send ripples out across the Internet that touch down on friends and even utter strangers for good or for bad.
Because we could all us a refresher, here are a few unspoken rules for social media that when followed, will have us all holding virtual hands and singing Kumbaya.
8 Unspoken Social Media Rules We Could All Use a Refresher on
1. The Bambi Principle
There’s no simpler way to put it. If you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything at all. This goes for comments on someone’s update, your own status updates, and just comments in general on the Internet. It’s okay to voice your constructive opinion, but to be callous, insulting, or just downright mean is not cool.
Let’s show the Internet a little class, along with building others up instead of tearing them down.
2. More Isn’t Better
We know you love your kids, but it really isn’t necessary to post 20 pictures of them in a slightly different pose. We see that your vacation is epic, but we really don’t need the play-by-play. We get that you are excited about your business, but please don’t blow up my feed with a barrage of PSAs peddling your product. Post it once (or every so often) and I’ll know where to find you.
In most cases, less is better.
3. Vaguebooking…It’s Rude
“If my day continues like this, I’m going to shoot myself.”
“Wondering how I got into this mess…”
Vaguebooking is the act of intentionally posting vague Facebook status updates in order to get attention. It drives the average Joe crazy. Open-ended doom and gloom comments are usually just a way to dredge up sympathy and are a downer in the old news feed. Plus, they’re like an itch you can’t scratch. No matter how much I hate vaguebooking, my day cannot move forward in a contented fashion until I know what the special surprise is that is going to rock your world or why there’s just a single frowny emoji on your update!!!
Vaguebooking is just begging someone to ask, “What’s wrong?” Do us all a solid and just come out and say it.
4. Take 2 Seconds To Say Happy Birthday
If you said you didn’t inwardly LOVE all of those Facebook birthday wishes, you’d be lying. There’s something thrilling about opening up Facebook on your birthday and seeing all of those birthday wishes. It’s like petting a fuzzy kitten while eating a big bowl of comfort mac and cheese.
Take two seconds to click on those “It’s so-and-so’s birthday today” alerts and wish them a quick happy b-day. It will make their day that much better and will return to you on your special day. Karma baby.
5. Spell Check Yo!
There’s nothing more obnoxious than spelling and grammar errors in social media; it seems progression has made heathens out of us in that department. Relying on auto-correct just won’t do. You’ve probably learned that one the hard way.
Take a second before you push “post” or “send” to read over what you just wrote. Consult a dictionary if necessary.
6. Ask Before You Tag
You may not realize this, but when you tag another person in your photo, it makes that photo visible to all of their friends as well. That means the photo that you took with Lucy partying hard this weekend will now pop up on her boss’s newsfeed. It will be seen by her mother, next door neighbor, and everyone she went to high school with. It also creates a link that people can click on to follow for more scandal.
Always ask before you tag. And if you don’t like being the victim of an unsuspecting tag, find out how to remove it here.
7. You Can Unfollow, But You Don’t Need To Announce It
People change, friends evolve, we totally get the need to thin out your friend list. But you don’t need to announce it to the world.
“Hey y’all, I’m deleting friends today…hope you make the cut!”
That just sends us back to middle school gym days when we were the last picked for dodge ball. If you’re weeding out your friends, unfollow gracefully and silently and no one will be worse for the wear.
8. Do I Really Need To Share This Thought with the World?
Lastly and largely, one of the most important social media rules to live by is to question, do I really need to share this with the world? It’s just a quick self-check that will do us all a favor. If the answer is yes, then by all means post away. But if the answer is no, or if you have to think about it for more than six seconds, it’s probably best written down in a private journal. One that you alone read.
When posting photos, ask yourself the same question, does the world really need to see this? It’s a good idea to create a separate Facebook or Instagram account for personal uses. If you use Chatbook or regularly print out your Instagram photos, maybe it’s best you use a private, personal account for all of those large photo dumps. Just sayin’.
Until the rule book for social media is written, I guess we all have to rely on the things our mamas taught us and some good old fashioned common sense. Happy updating y’all!