Have you ever wished that there were a social media etiquette guide that advised how you should (and shouldn’t) behave over social media? Wish no longer, my beautiful darlings, because we have done one better. Welcome to the YouQueen Social Media Charm School.
Etiquette Tip #1: Thou shalt not poke thy ex
Most social media users know that interacting with ex-partners via social media is a tricky and intricate task. There’s the right way to approach the relationship, i.e. by accepting friend requests, sharing one or two ‘catch-up’ messages and then leaving each other the heck alone.
Then, there’s the bad way, where you poke each other religiously (seriously, who came up with that feature?!), message all the time, retweet each other’s words of wisdom and, the unholy of all things holy, stalk each other’s pictures (and then ‘like’ them!) on a regular basis.
Now if you are in a relationship, this type of behavior is likely to send you straight to the doghouse. Nobody likes to think their partner is poking their ex. And if you’re not in a relationship, well remember there’s a reason they are your ex. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice …
Etiquette Tip #2: Thou shalt not post unflattering photos of your friends
Okay, so it’s virtually impossible to take a good picture every single time. We get it. But there’s got to be some sort of rule about what constitutes ‘good’? Because if you’ve ever been on the receiving line of an unflattering tagged photo, ‘OMG, OMG, how do I delete it?! Quick! Ugh, I didn’t even know my face could make that expression!’ you know it’s nothing short of panic-worthy.
Agree with your friends and family on what constitutes a good ‘photo’ and then stick to the guidelines. Or, better yet, ask for their permission before you post the photo or tag them in it. Manners, people, they really work.
Hint: A good photo is not one where you can see a nipple, panties or cottage cheese legs. A good photo is not one where there is a visible booger, angry pimple or unwaxed monobrow in sight. And a good photo is not one where you’ve pulled the squinty-eyed ‘er, what you are doing?’ expression.
Etiquette Tip #3: Thou shalt quit inviting everyone to play Candy Crush Saga
I’m the first to admit that Candy Crush Saga is an awesome game. But do you really need to invite every single one of your friends to play it? Or Poker Challenge, Farm Animals and whatever else Facebook allows you to invite people to?
Short answer: No. You don’t. Because it’s annoying, irritating and to be frank, a little weird.
If we want to play a game with you, we’ll approach you via a more standard medium. Like calling you. Or texting you. Or bringing Scrabble over to your place. Don’t push the issue. It just makes things awkward.
Etiquette Tip #4: Thou shalt not air thy dirty laundry
When did it become acceptable for everyone to bitch, whine, moan and sook on social media? This seems just bizarre to me, mostly because it’s not the type of behavior you see in public. At all.
Think about it: how often do you see someone yelling at the top of their lungs (to nobody in particular) in aisle three of the supermarket:
“How DARE you cheat on me, you jerk! I LOVED you! I TRUSTED you! I pretended to like your MOTHER! You have no idea what you’ve done. I will NEVER forgive you! OMG, YOLO #ihateyou #yousuck #omgineedicecream”
Hmm? Hmmmm? Well, I’d have to say I’ve never seen this. So why do it online? Because while it is a little entertaining for everyone else to read your social media breakdown, remember that what goes online, stays online. Even if you delete your ill-advised rant, someone could have screenshot it. That very public rant will stay with you forever. And what if you want to run for President?
Etiquette Tip #5: Thou shalt limit thy children and pet pictures
We get it; you have a child/ape/dog/fish that you simply adore. It’s the light of your life, the wind in your wings, the sand in your beach. Whatever. We understand.
But … there has to be a limit to how many times you post photos of your beloved. Because after a while, you start being perceived as being a little two dimensional, if not a little obsessed. When one photo turns into 20 and then runs into 40, take a breath and curb your enthusiasm.
And if you can’t curb it, well divert it. You know those really old fashioned things that you used to use to store photographs in? What are they called … photo albums? Buy one. Put your photos in it. And then look at it, privately, in your spare time.
Because even if someone doesn’t delete you for being a weird photo uploader, the chances are pretty high that your son is going to be really peeved when he realizes in 20 years time that there are at least 100 photos circulating the Internet with his willy and naked butt in them.
And what if he wants to run for President?
Etiquette Tip #6: Thou shalt not hate
What is it about the Internet that gives people permission to hate on others? Is it the anonymity? The ease of access? Or just the fact that your victim isn’t directly in front of you and able to punch you in the face?
Either way, haters will hate, especially on the Internet. But a word to the wise: karma is a jerk. So just think that however much anger, resentment and pure nastiness you’re unloading on some poor chap that had the courage to wear a bow tie, will be returned ten-fold to you at some stage in your life.
And if not, that guy with a bow tie probably has an older brother. A bigger, older brother. Who will hunt you down and punch you in the face.
Treat others how you would like to be treated. Give love and joy, not hatred. Make a difference where you can and spread happiness. Don’t hate, because it’s not doing anyone (including you) any favors.
Etiquette Tip #7: Restrict thy selfies
Darling, we know you’re beautiful. Even the ten photographs of you in a bathroom doing duck face aren’t going to convince us otherwise. But they are going to make us think you’re a little self-involved and that perhaps you have nothing else to offer than a few Kim Kardashian-esque ripped-off poses. Is that really what you want?
Down the duck, lower your skirt, tuck your boobs in and give us a smile instead. Every now and then that is, not every few minutes.
Etiquette Tip #8: Thou shalt wish thy friends happiest of birthdays
Okay, so I know that birthdays roll around every year. And I also know that you have heaps of friends to keep track of. But … it’s still a really nice, polite and courteous thing to wish someone a happy birthday.
Birthdays are pressure cooker of days. It’s why the song ‘It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to’ was written. So add a bit of light and love to someone’s special day and shoot him or her a quick note. The earlier the better.
Because you never know, it might be your one message that makes their day and puts a smile on their face.
Etiquette Tip #9: Thou shalt not post Game of Thrones spoilers
To all of you that hopped on social media recently and explained, in detail, the last episode of Game of Thrones, I have to ask you ‘why?!’. Why would you do that to someone? Why burst their bubble like that?
I know you have an opinion, and it’s probably a very passionate and intelligent one at that, but at the very least can you pop ‘Spoiler Alert!’ on top of anything you plan on lifting the lid on?
It’s rude, mean and downright nasty to assume everyone is on your couch with you, chewing their nails and watching the same thing you are. We’re not. So don’t ruin it for us. Or we will delete you. And speaking of which …
Etiquette Tip #10: Thou shalt not delete a person until it is a ‘you are dead to me’ moment
Here’s a hint to kick-start this topic: don’t accept anyone’s friend request or follow anyone that you don’t like. Because if you don’t like them, you will be tempted to delete them at one stage and if you delete them, then that’s going to open a whole can full of angry, irate and upset worms.
I believe the ‘delete’ function should be used as a last ditch ‘I never want to speak to you’, ‘you are dead to me,’ motion only. Don’t use it if you’re angry in the moment or still want to know what they’re doing on social media. You can’t un-delete. Remember that.
So on that note, I leave the rest of the Social Media Charm School up to you. What do you think should be on this list?