Sure, it can be hard to remember when you sit down in front of your computer screen that there are other, real people on the other side. Sometimes, we get so excited we hit send before we truly think about what we are putting into the world. But having good etiquette is something that will carry you through life, not only face-to-face, but also screen-to-screen.

Studies have shown that it can take a mere millisecond for someone to make a first impression. That millisecond could be spent examining a selfie posted on Instagram or it could be reading a comment made on a news article from Facebook. Regardless of how you express yourself on social media, it’s important to be conscious of what you are sharing. While there isn’t a rule-book for social media manners, we do have a few starting tips to make sure you are well-mannered on the Internet.

 

Learn the Language

As we all know, the way words are delivered face-to-face differs when you throw in a keyboard and a digital wall. Sarcasm and jokes can often be taken seriously or a text you meant one way might be twisted into something else. As a result, the world has adapted to ensure that our intentions are being communicated appropriately online.

For example, the “humble period” refers to the trend of no longer ending texts or comments with formal periods online. Now, once your message is done, you can leave it as is and most people recognize you are done sharing. In fact, using a period to end a text now might even be seen as aggressive or condescending. It’s interesting how a simple period can imply sarcasm or negativity, even to the seemingly harmless phrase: “See you soon.”

 

Know Your Audience

Words and interactions on social media today are highly reliant on the audience with which you are interacting. For example, an email you send to your boss would look a lot different from a text to your friend about happy hour specials.

In addition to recognizing and responding in the appropriate fashion to who you are conversing with on social media, it’s also important to be able to react on the fly to how someone is reacting to you. You never know the type of formality someone else is used to having on social media, which is why the general rule of thumb is to always start at the highest level of formality and then gradually work your way down as you become more comfortable.

 

Stay Updated & Stay Yourself

The do’s and don’ts of social media are always rapidly changing, but it’s important to stay on top of major announcements or trends. In the beginnings of Facebook, it was common to upload hundreds of pictures into an album and tag everyone in them. People text “lol” in response to something even if they aren’t literally laughing now, even though others may genuinely believe that person is “laughing out loud.”

While it’s impossible to keep up on every little trend or abbreviation, it certainly helps to make sure you are always practicing care and consideration for other people online. If nothing else, treat others the way you would want to be treated!

 

What do you think about social media etiquette? What tips do you have for others? Let us know below!