The Social Rules of Social Media

We thought it might be beneficial to point out that times are changing. People are connecting in new ways, and with new forums comes new forms of etiquette. When you engage on popular social media networks like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you may find yourself in curious, new social situations where you’re unsure of the proper way to respond. With the rate at which social media sites release new features, it’s hard to keep up with the dos and don’ts. Here are few common social media faux pas and the best ways to navigate them.

1. Deleting or unfollowing people because you are mad at them

People get mad at people, we get it. But don’t let your anger get the best of you. While in a fit of fury, hitting that unfollow button might seem like the best way to show your new sworn enemy who’s boss. However, we suggest you refrain. It will certainly save you the embarrassment when the time comes to make-up.

Instead, try muting or snoozing posts from those you wish to see less of. Facebook has an ingenious feature that allows you to snooze content from active users for up to 30 days (You’ll be thanking Facebook for this one come the next election season). Instagram also has a similar feature that allows you to mute stories and posts from individuals on your following list.

The best part about these features? The users you mute or snooze will not be notified. ? Think of it as a social media time out for the toxic people in your life. #selfcare

2. Getting sassy in the comments section

Social media is a great place to keep up with family, connect with old friends or share photos and videos that document your everyday life. It’s also a great place to stand on your soapbox, air political opinions, and deliver wordy backhanded comments to strangers. If the latter sounds like your experience on social networking sites, we have three words for you: slow your roll. Internet trolls are a thing, and they love nothing more than to provoke you. Is having the last word really worth it? Choose your battles wisely, friend. Getting into a full-blown political argument in the comments of your college roommate’s new-born baby pictures will not be your finest moment, we promise.

This goes the same for all the business owners out there. We know how infuriating it can be to have someone crap on your business on social media, but we beg you to take the high road. Negative engagement is just a small part of doing business, and you should tread lightly for the sake of your brand.

The Social Rules of Social Media - false information

3. Sharing fake news

Don’t believe everything you hear: in the era of “fake news”, anyone who’s anyone can share content on social media. Which is why you have to stay vigilant these days. In fact, the issue has gotten so out of hand that Instagram has taken on its own efforts to notify users of content that displays potentially false information. Some might call this a censorship on our freedom of speech, but the truth is that without any sort of accreditation standards, false information spread via social media can actually be incredibly harmful. A recent study shows that 55% of US adults get their news from social media either “often” or “sometimes.”

That being said, it’s up to you to do your fact-checking to avoid spreading misinformation around the internet. No one likes a fake news peddler, check your sources or you might find yourself getting muted by your friends.

4. Sliding through everyone’s DMs

Direct messages are a sacred space. This is where the closest of friends share memes and engage in private conversations. Do not abuse this system with the following: multi-level marketing scheme pitches, tired pick-up lines, a link to your new Soundcloud track, and so on. Not to mention, DMing businesses or their employees to inquire about hiring availability (unless, of course, the platform is LinkedIn). Keep it classy, people!

That being said, we get that sometimes mistakes happen. Accidentally DMing someone a message that was not intended for them can be incredibly embarrassing. Not to worry, Instagram has your back with the “unsend” feature that will leave your inbox looking as if nothing ever happened.

We hope you’ll find navigating the landscape of various social media platforms a bit less unnerving after addressing these all too common scenarios. Remember to keep your anger in check before hitting enter, be mindful of the information you share, and try to keep DMing strangers to the bare minimum. Your followers will thank you!

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