Social Graces: What to Share (and Not Share) on Social Media

Author: Convene Editors       

Blank paperback book cover isolated over white background with rPROBLEM Social-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn give you more ways than ever to express yourself. How do you know what to share and what to keep to yourself — especially when it comes to maintaining a professional online presence?

SOLUTION In Netiquette Essentials: New Rules for Minding Your Manners in a Digital World, futurist Scott Steinberg offers a framework for “equipping contemporary high-tech users with the tools and training they need to not only be courteous and respectful of others, but also responsible digital citizens” — including tips for being a responsible social-media user:

  • Understand that each social network has its own rules of conduct, social norms, and methods of interaction.
  • Assume that everything you post online can be seen by others, as even major social networks have suffered privacy breaches.
  • Do not share information that online friends have shared with you in confidence, e.g., quoting someone’s private tweet to you.
  • Log out of all your social networks when finished using them, and when you are using a computer or mobile device that isn’t yours.
  • Realize that everything posted online lives on the internet permanently, and may be available for public viewing. › Never forget: Despite their seeming intimacy, social networks are among  the most public of spaces — it’s important to conduct yourself on them as you would in any shared setting.
  • You reserve the exclusive right, and it is wholly appropriate, to decline friend requests from strangers.
  • Privacy and personal comfort are paramount: At no point should you feel  compelled to respond to messages or queries from people you don’t know.
  • Before posting on others’ profiles or walls, or tagging them in your own  posts, consider how your actions and/or statements may be perceived, and if they may potentially cast friends in a negative light and/or embarrass them.
  • Use privacy settings to limit who can view your posts and shares.
  • When asking someone you don’t know to be your friend, send  a short message explaining who you are and why you’re attempting to contact them.

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