May 25, 2015

Five Rules for Social Media Etiquette

Social media - an awesome gathering of people via the internet where free speech abounds.  Sometimes to the detriment of relationships, both digital and IRL.  (That's In Real Life, for those of you who aren't up on your internet lingo).

Follow these five rules for social media etiquette, and your friends and family will enjoy your internet presence for years to come, or, at least until some other form of communication becomes popular.  Telepathy, anyone?

#1 - Never correct grammar on posts not made by you.  No matter how much it causes your angina to act up, do not do it!  Nobody appreciates it.  Even if you try to pass off your grammar OCD as a joke, nobody will be fooled.  They might block you from viewing their future posts, though.

#2 - Post food pics.  But only about once a month.  Admit it - you like seeing photos of a succulent, well-plated, 4-star restaurant meal.  For some people, it inspires us to get cooking and try to one-up our friends' photos.  For others, is allows us to live vicariously through our friends.  We can imagine we're eating a $20 steak as we bite into our Mickey D's Filet-o-Fish sandwich.  However, if a friend posts a food pic every day, or even several times a week, we're going to get sick of them.  Unless they have a career as a Foodie (a.k.a., an awesome cook/chef who also blogs their recipes), nobody wants to see their meals every single day.  Stun us once a month with Olive Garden bread sticks or fresh-baked cookies that came out perfectly plump.  Because, honestly, if my cupboards are bare this week, and I'm eating tuna sandwiches for lunch every day, I'm gonna want to punch that person if I see one more photo of a gourmet pizza or pretty pink homemade ice cream.

#3 - Never post anything political, religious, having to do with parenting, or anything that could be construed as falling into one of those three categories.  In this day and age, people are not grownup enough to handle dissenting opinions on anything.  Someone will disagree with what you've posted, and you'll hear about it. Your relationship with that person will never be the same again.  Even if it's someone you considered to be a close friend in real life. Whether they comment on your post with veiled venom, or they private message you and let it rip about how awful a person they think you are, or they simply gossip about you to others and eventually you find out that someone you've barely ever spoken to is telling other people how awful a person they think you are.  That's how it works these days.  It resembles a middle school playground.  When someone disagrees with something you've said, or if they feel hurt by something you've said, instead of coming to you and talking about it in a mature way so that you might maintain a healthy relationship, they do one of two things:  either they'll blow up and say some colorful, bitter things to you (you know, kind of like a school yard brawl), or they'll talk to others in the corner of the playground, and they'll all point at you and whisper, and you'll know they're not saying nice things about you, but you can't ever defend yourself, and now, instead of that one person being upset with you, there are 10 more people upset with you, and they don't even know why.  All they know is someone told them they should be.  So, avoid the juvenile kerfuffle altogether by only posting cute kitten memes.  Or musings on the weather.  Or pics of your dinner (but be sure to see rule #2 first).

#4 - Stop sending game requests!  I know you love that Farm Fanatic game.  I know you want people to send you seeds for your new field or coins so you can buy a new barn.  Some of us may even play the same game.  The problem, though, is that most people don't play the game.  Or any other game.  A good 95% of the people on your friends list don't play games on social media.  When we log on to our social media account, and we see that little red notification telling us that someone has interacted with us, we get a twinge of excitement.  Someone has sent us a message.  Or someone has posted on our wall.  Or someone has commented on a post we made.  Whatever it is, we get excited.  As ridiculous as it is, we feel it's proof that someone likes us!  They really like us!  But finding out that little red notification was only a game request makes our hearts drop just a little.  It's silly.  We know.  But, please stop giving us false hope!  Eventually, we get annoyed with you and may even block you.  Or, if you keep on, we may even unfriend you.  Which, if you think about it, won't really bother you at all, and you may never even notice it was done, but it's still not something we want to do.  We like seeing your posts that have nothing to do with games or apps.  So, please stop.  Put an end to game requests.  Do it!

#5 - Stop sharing memes or posts that attempt to shame people into some sort of action.  For example:  "REPOST THIS IF YOU'RE NOT ASHAMED OF GOD!"  First of all, see rule #3.  Secondly, I never repost obnoxious, shaming memes, because they're obnoxious and shaming, and making my friends and family feel irritated and shamed isn't something I would like to do.  Finally, if I choose not to repost your obnoxious, shaming meme, it in NO WAY means or implies that I am ashamed of God.  I'm not ashamed of God.  And I'm pretty sure God doesn't care one little bit whether or not I share your meme.  I am, however, ashamed for you that you would stoop to such a level of ridiculousness and probably didn't stop to think about what you were even sharing.  Please stop.

How do I know these five rules hold true?  Because I'm guilty of breaking nearly all of them.  I'm not popular.

So, I'm doing my part to keep your friends from turning your name into a verb.  Or a four letter word. You'll thank me one day.

What other social media etiquette rules have you encountered?  Which ones are you guilty of breaking?

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