Social Media Etiquette - What You Need to Know

This post is brought to you in partnership with U.S. Cellular.

Social media is an amazing way to connect with a variety of people, not just locally but all over the world.  It has given us a sense of community pretty much constantly.  However, social media etiquette often gets swept under the rug – perhaps because people don’t know as much about how to behave on social media, or perhaps because they are essentially behind the curtain and unafraid to share/post whatever they please.

I don’t think a lot of this is done maliciously (although obviously if you watch the news some of it is), but I think do think that it is a lack of information on social media etiquette.

Social media allows us to communicate quickly to a large audience.  This accessibility means we should be careful that what we post is appropriate and conveys the intended message.

I know that I am constantly on my iPhone 7 looking through Instagram pictures, and also posting my own.  I love to scroll through Facebook and see what everyone is up to – it is a great way to find community, and it is also the preferred way people seem to communicate locally as well (kids’ activities I am talking about you!).

Using your phone too much and at inappropriate times can annoy others – in fact 71% of smartphone owners get upset at others for excessive phone use at least some of the time, according to a recent U.S. Cellular survey¹.


Think before sharing – before you post on Facebook or send out a tweet, stop to think about the message that you are trying to convey.  If it is immediately after an emotional event, it might not be the best time to post your feelings on the internet.  A good rule of thumb would be to relax, take a deep breath, and think before you post on any social media platform.

Check the background before posting – we have all seen those funny photo bombs posted on social media.  An easy way to combat this is to take a careful look at your photos before posting them.  Instead of just trying to get the perfect filter, pay attention to what is in the background!

Ask before posting pictures of other people – this is a big one.  There is a difference between posting pictures of yourself and your own kids and posting pictures of other people and their kids.  Whenever my kids are in a big group and I take a cute picture I would like to post to Instagram, I ask everyone involved if it is OK to post the picture.  The answer is not always yes.  I am particular about the pictures I post of my own children, and I know a lot of people prefer to keep their kids completely off of social media.

You should also ask before tagging people in a picture – they may be ok with having the picture, but may not want to be tagged across their own social media with the picture.

Be careful when engaging in online conversation – Facebook statuses and tweets are usually conversational in nature, but it is very easy to get the wrong idea from words typed on a screen.  When you can’t see the person’s face while they are saying something to you, it is easy to take things out of context, or read meaning into the words that isn’t actually there.  Be aware that anything you post online can be read by others, even if they are not actively part of the conversation.

What are some social media etiquette rules you think need more attention?


¹ Between Nov. 10-17, 2016, a total of 701 online interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample by Consumer Insights, in partnership with Maritz CX.

23 comments:

  1. Great tips! Thanks for sharing, you bring up some important points! Think and it will be better in the long run :)

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  2. I hate when someone posts a picture of my kids without asking. On my personal FB page, that is fine because they are mostly mom friends, but ALWAYS ask!!

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  3. Everyone should read this. I can totally relate to all of these since i do check my instagram often. Some people probably forget that there are other people watching. I know what you mean by asking permission first before posting pictures of other peoples kids. This is a good read.

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  4. This is so very important! I feel like these are all common sense but so many people don't abide by it! I really agree with not sharing photos of people's kids or announcements before they can!

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  5. I just read that if you and your family are in a public space, that you are "eligible" to be published on social media. I am trying to find that source. Public spaces such as parks, trails, national monuments... restaurants, malls, etc wouldn't be considered public places.

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  6. This is actually really important! I have a few friends who don't post their kids online at all so I know not to share anything with them but I think it's important to always ask permission if involving other people and you're right, be aware of your surroundings before you post a photo with someone being vulnerable in the background!

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  7. this is such an important thing and i really do think everyone should read this. this all makes so much sense and so many people don't abide by this.

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  8. All are very good pointers for people who are active in social media. We have to be responsible for what we post and sensitive too.

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  9. These are some great points! There are so many people out there that need to know these points. Hiding behind a computer screen is their way of saying anything they want.

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  10. These are good tips to follow! I enjoy Facebook to keep in touch with friends and Instagram as well to see the pictures people post!

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  11. Great tips for using social media! It is great to feel connected to people all over the world. But there are a lot of pitfalls. One no-no for me is to not vent when I'm upset about something. Sometimes you won't want that on there later.

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  12. These are all so important. I don't tend to put stuff on social media of a sensitive nature or anything which overshares as Facebook and places just aren't the right place for that x

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  13. These are great tips! I'm yet to have children but once I do I'm considering not sharing pictures of them across social media, and would like to think others will respect this too.

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  14. Yes, yes, to all of these. It's important to be considerate when you post and with you comment. So many people think because social media is anonymous, you can be a jerk without facing consequences.

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  15. There is so much negativity on social media. It's hard to avoid it on my friends' feeds but I definitely don't want to ever add to it!

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  16. This are such could tips that we often tend to forget. Thanks for the gentle reminder.

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  17. I truly agree, using phone too much annoy others. There are really places where the use of smart phones for kids, even for adults are discouraged. The sense of connectivity through smart-phone had gotten out of the way, it loses the real essence of connectivity!

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  18. Sharing on social media after an emotional event - this is something I think more people need to realize! - Jeanine

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  19. This is such a good reminder for all of us on how to properly post on social media and use our phones as well. It's all about being responsible adults.

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  20. I've been trying to really work on this. As a blogger I'm on my phone all the time. I've been trying to work on keeping personal lives private and public things public. It's a hard line sometimes.

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  21. This is advice that more people need to follow. You have to be careful what you post. Whatever you put on the web can last forever.

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  22. The one about asking before posting a picture of someone else? Yeah, I know some people who need to learn that etiquette. I hate it when someone snaps my picture and posts it without asking. That is so rude.

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  23. Great advice. Now can you please tell me how to get my (person in my extended family who shall not be named) from posting crazy things on FB without at least checking Snopes first? ;)

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