Guide to Social Media Manners

Where there is communication, there is a possibility to offend. That’s why we all try to stick to an agreed on set of rules that we call “manners.” The basics of please and thank you, or RSVPing when invited to an event are understood. Naturally new methods of communication mean new rules are created.

A few years back we started hearing the word “netiquette” to describe proper email behavior. Well, social media is here and we’re all faced with a new way to upset or offend others with our Facebook posts, Tweets and so on. Which is why the Slate podcast “Manners for the Digital Age” is so interesting. An advice columnist (Emily Yoffe) and technology columnist (Farhad Manjoo) answer reader questions about proper behavior when using social media platforms, smartphones and even good old email.

One recent query: Is it proper to use social media to promote your work? Or as they so cleverly put it, to “tweet your own horn?” Other topics the pair have hashed out include texting during a dinner with co-workers, sharing someone else’s big news on Facebook and ignoring Tweets directed to you specifically.

Some manners fall into your basic “do unto others” rule. But with the line between personal and business communication getting blurrier in social media missives, and the ability to get a message out fast has many of us posting before we think. Even when Yoffe and Manjoo disagree, a little professional perspective is much appreciated.