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Saturday, 6 September 2014

Social Media Etiquette

In today's society everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other social media platfroms - unless you're in Zimbabwe, where 'SMS's still thrive ;)

Unfortunately, although many of us enjoy interacting online, we haven't quite worked out how to do it in a socially acceptable way. Online platforms work in much the same way as offline or REAL life interactions work - there are do's and don'ts that we all need to adhere to. The people who 'get it' online will not only annoy everyone a lot less but they'll also enjoy a much bigger following, which on certain platforms, such as Twitter,Instagram,Youtube, etc is a good thing to have.

Facebook on the other hand, works a bit differenty in this aspect. If you have a Facebook page for your blog or business then the amount of likes you get is important, but if it's your personal Facebook page then the amount of friends you have DOES NOT MATTER. If anything, someone with 2000 friends comes across a bit suspicious - who has THAT many friends?? This brings me to our very first social media rule: Only friend request someone on Facebook if they are in fact your friend! And by friend, I mean someone that you have actually met in real life or want to meet in real life and are FRIENDS with.

In keeping with Facebook, here are some other 'rules' or tips to help you develop your online etiquette:

First of all, Status updates are the core of Facebook, some of us prefer to sit back and read everyone else's statuses and others prefer to post updates....CONSTANTLY! By all means, let your friends know what you're up to but there are ways to do it without over doing it! Take notes from the below survey that was conducted to see what people thought were the most annoying kinds of updates! (Taken from Real Simple)

What’s the Most Annoying Kind of Facebook Update?

24 percent: Intentionally vague posts meant to generate concern and attention, a.k.a. vaguebooking. “Jennifer wonders whether it’s all been worth it.”

20 percent: Chronic complaining. “Ugh, who ordered this RAIN? It’s making my carpal tunnel act up again.”

19 percent: Meaningless calls to action. “If you want to fight world hunger, put the color of your socks as your status update for the next half hour. I want to see who is brave enough to take a stand.”

14 percent: Oversharing. “Note to self: Next time, wear a thong with that wrap dress.”

13 percent: Miscellaneous posts—including polarizing religious or political statements, indecipherable txt spk, and game updates.

10 percent: Posting too frequently. “12:03: Chicken salad or tuna? 12:12: Chicken! Thanks for the responses.”

If there’s someone (say, an oversharing cousin or a constantly complaining coworker) whom you can’t in good conscience unfriend, simply hide her from your feed instead. The next time she does a status update, click on the drop-down menu in its upper right-hand corner and unsubscribe from her post. You can also limit the number of status updates you see from her by using that same menu. That way you can declutter your page without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Here are my other 5 Social Media tips, specifically for Facebook:
  1. If you've been on an amazing holiday and want to share all your photos with Facebook then go ahead, BUT for goodness sake, create an album! If you upload photo by photo and spam my timeline, you WILL be hidden, FOREVER. 
  2. If someone puts up a status such as "I had such a wonderful day at the market today". DO NOT comment something that has nothing to do with that status, for example "Hey Jane, you looked great at Tina's birthday". You are commenting on a specific status so keep it relevant. Other comments are meant to be posted directly to their wall, or better yet, a direct message to them.
  3. This brings me to my next point, not everything you want to ask/tell someone needs to be seen by the entire Facebook population. If it's a personal question or comment then please use Facebook messenger to talk to the person directly. 
  4. If you have broken up with your significant other, it's been 2 weeks and you know that you aren't going to get back together then you can change your relationship status to single. Don't do it the day after a break up and then you get back together and look like a fool - I've done this, it's not cool! Also, there is no need to bad mouth your ex or give details about the breakup, we are all adults, (I hope) and that kind of behaviour is very immature. If someone asks what happened then MESSAGE them and share the details that you are comfortable with. Relationships and friendships are private matters so please keep that in mind.
  5. Lastly, we all know that girls are a tad more self concsious than boys so please keep that in mind when tagging friends in a photo you want to upload to Facebook. Yes you look great but Jenna has 3 chins in that photo!! Either crop her out of the picture or don't upload that specific photo!  

Now, what about Twitter, the ultimate interactive platform! Of course all the Facebook rules apply here too but there are a few additional notes I'd like to share:
  1. Subtweeting - If you aren't familiar with this term then the easiest way to explain it is - a 'subtweet' is a tweet about someone where their name is not mentioned. Kind of like talking behind someone's back, e.g "OMG she is so annoying with all her selfies". These kind of tweets are attention seeking and immature (in my opinion). Keep your issues offline! Besides, 9 out of 10 times the person you are subtweeting will work it out and then you have just caused unnecessary drama - I dont know about you but my life is too short for drama! 
  2. I know being limited to 140 characters can be challenging at times but please never sacrifice good spelling and grammer for the sake of lengthening your tweet. "I shldve spken 2 hm abt it, bt I jst cldnt brng myslf 2do it 2nyt". NO. If you have a lot to say, rather split your tweet into 2 or 3 parts and label the tweet 1/3 or 2/3 etc. 
  3. So you've got an hour to kill and you take to twitter for a tweeting/RTing marathon. This is either going to result in a lot of unfollows or it will just irritate everyone. Space out your tweets and don't fill people's timeline with your boredom issues.
  4. Twitter is a place where people can share their opinions. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and if you don't agree then you can engage in a civil debate. However, don't go slandering someone becuase you don't agree with their beliefs - be open minded and discuss the topic in a mature way. Unless of course someone is talking about the best way to skin a cat, then by all means slander away and please send me their handle so I can use my words to make them cry!
  5. Twitter, like every other social media platform is great for sharing your thoughts but these thoughts or comments will stay on the inter webs...for ever! So you need to be careful what kind of reputation you are building for yourself when you send that drunken tweet, duck selfie, or brag. 
There are so many other platforms I could talk about but hopefully you have gotten the drift by now. But before I let you go, I just want to quickly touch on some blog etiquette rules- 
  1. Always credit the source of your photos if they weren't taken by you. Unless they are stock images off of google.
  2. Blegging (blog begging) is a real thing. Please don't do it! Yes direct people to your blog but don't beg! Ask brands to assist you but don't bleg for products.
  3. Always respond to comments, good or bad, people are entitled to their opinion and you should always give them feedback - don't delete their comment! 
  4. If you mention another blogger please put a link back to their blog. The blogging community can be a very beautiful thing if you do it the right way so please be supportive of other bloggers. 
  5. Always be honest when you're doing a review. If you don't want to say something bad about a brand then rather don't do a review on the product - Don't lie to keep the brand happy. On the flip side, if you are going to do a negative review then it's always a good idea to let the brand know first.

Here's one final article on Social Media Etiquette that I thought had some good advice:

10 Commonly Overlooked Best Practices in Social Media (Taken from Linked Strategies)
  1. Do unto others – “Please” and “Thank You’s” do go a long way. If you wanted to be respected you first have to give respect.
  2. Be nice – Remember, what you do on the internet is a reflection of you and quite possibly your business. Be positive and encouraging. No one wants to be associated with a negative individual.
  3. Don’t be too quick to judge – You know the old saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It still holds true today. When meeting individuals online, you should strike up a conversation, get to know them a bit before you judge who or what they are. 
  4. Be respectful – Just because you are “hiding” behind a computer doesn’t give you free reign to act as you please. You still need to treat people properly.
  5. When marketing-use a first name – If you want someone to actually respond back to you, you need to make your connection more personable. Using their first name is a great way to start!
  6. Don’t be annoying – Don’t continue to send emails out every hour on the hour. It’s annoying and clutters up one’s inbox. If you don’t hear back from an individual right away, give them some time. Some people aren’t surgically attached to their computers like some of us! :)
  7. Play by the rules – Be respectful of group and community rules. Follow the terms of use of the social platform you are using.
  8. Don’t abuse your network – Use your network the right way. Don’t post how your day is going to your network all day long. It’s unprofessional and quite frankly, unnecessary. If you must post something, post something of significance that your network can actually use, like a great social media link you just found or some sort of tip, advice or quote you find significant.
  9. Add a profile picture – Everyone likes to “see” who they are talking to. It’s easy to do and having a picture on file does make you look more reputable and professional.
  10. Above all – don’t be too quick to react.  People are trying to figure out the most proper ways to communicate and millions are entering as rookies on a monthly basis, so show patience, kindness and assume those trying to interact are naive before you assume they are malicious.

I hope you've learnt a thing or two from this post! Happy social networking =) 


  1. Really enjoyed this post, Fawn! I personally think even negative product reviews are important to have on your blog (obviously don't do negative reviews all the time) because someone might be wondering whether a certain product is worth the money. I personally enjoy reading why people didn't enjoy a certain product (perhaps it's because they have oily skin, but that product might work for my dry skin etc) or the product might just be very disappointing and I'll save money & not purchase it.

    I always let the brand know before I'm going to do a negative review, it's just respectful.

    Love all the other points you made too - well done!

    1. Thanks so much Luzanne! I totally agree, keeping your readers happy is always just as important - if not more - than keeping the brands happy! Glad you enjoyed! xx

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