What is Online Social Etiquette?

What is Online Social Etiquette?

Jul 12

As popular as social media is today, it is important to know how to best represent yourself online. Unlike face-to-face social interactions, there are no body language cues for others to use while interpreting your words, and there is no way for them to immediately respond. It’s a term we hear more and more frequently, but what really is socially acceptable online behavior? Here are some things to avoid:


Humor is appropriate in online communication, but it can be very difficult to tell when someone is being genuine or sarcastic. Emojis can help clarify the way you intended to use your words, but they are not appropriate in a professional setting. Remember that public forums can be viewed by anyone, and the things you post to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram may influence your professional reputation.

Using Improper Grammar and Spelling

Sending text messages between friends is a lot different than posting information on a public platform. If you want people to cringe every time they think of your name, then go ahead aNd G3t cr8iV m8. However, if you value your online presence and want to adhere to some semblance of etiquette, do your best to use the proper grammar and spelling.

Airing Dirty Laundry

It is never acceptable to call someone out in public for your personal grievances against them, like money problems or relationship quarrels. Those issues are private matters, and they do not belong online where everyone can see. If you feel strongly about addressing the situation online, wait an hour before doing so. Hopefully your emotions will calm down and you will realize what a mistake it would have been to post your initial thoughts.

Plagiarizing and Reposting as Your Own

You may think you’re being sneaky, clever, or witty, but popular services, such as Google’s Reverse Image Search can easily prove that you are not the original creator of a certain meme. Simply posting lyrics to a song without quotation marks or using another person’s quote without acknowledging that the words aren’t yours is considered to be in poor taste. It’s okay to share things that you like, but don’t try to come off as someone you aren’t by stealing someone else’s work. That is a good way to draw a lot of negative attention to yourself from all corners of the internet.

Sharing Too Much Personal Insight

Sometimes we find ourselves feeling philosophical and deep in the stream of consciousness, but save that for your diary and not social media. Posting too much information about a fragile moment in your thoughts can have lasting consequences, even if it is something you truly believe in. How are people supposed to respond? These types of posts usually inspire more questions than answers, and they are best shared in a personal discussion. Instead of sharing these thoughts with everyone online, try to keep your posts lighthearted and fun by saving the deep stuff for an intimate coffee shop discussion with your closest friends.

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