You’re not even finished with the first of many cups of liquid motivation, when you take in a morning hit of Facebook. Uh-oh. Looks like John Doe has posted 45 new photos dedicated to his latest head shot photography session. Hold your nausea, because he doesn’t stop there. Next, he posts a pessimistic status update so verbose it could rival The Lord of the Rings. (Admit it — you waited for the movies, didn’t you?)Click — unsubscribe.
The thing is, John Doe could very well be a decent dude, but his online presence is really a buzzkill. It’s due time he and the rest of Webville take note of the unwritten laws of web etiquette. Here’s a list of a handful of taboos to avoid in order to ensure your presence appears virtuous to all. (Taps magic wand on shoulder.)
1. Don’t overshare.
By now, it’s common knowledge that not everything that happens in Vegas stays there. Twitter allows you to protect tweets by making them private to approved followers only. Facebook offers more options with detailed group settings. Once you’ve sorted distant relatives from the best friends, you can post those photos as proof that you snuck onstage at the Thunder from Down Under show in Vegas. Because some things are meant to be shared… just not with everyone.
2. Don’t forward emails.
Deny the urge to forward long emails with pictures of rainbows, insane chalk art, or (God forbid) recipe chain letters. (Unless, of course, it has anything to do with Food On My Dog, which is totally acceptable and worth clicking on right this second.)
3. Don’t update your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram while dining with a friend.
You don’t want to be that table of friends who are each individually entranced by their iPhone glow, now do you? Nothing says true friendship like ignoring table conversation to retweet Kanye’s latest gem. (That was sarcasm, people. Don’t be that guy!)
4. Don’t type in txt liNg0 when u dnt nd 2.
It’s a slippery slope to text talk; next thing you know, you’ll be LOL-ing like a Justin Bieber fan. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Belieber — just don’t LOL like one.
5. Don’t humble brag.
A humble brag, as Urban Dictionary phrases it, is “when you, usually consciously, try to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a phony show of humility.” In short, it’s a way to brag without making it seem so painstakingly obvious. There’s even a Twitter handle now dedicated to some of the best humble brags out there.
Now that you’re armed with what not to do, here are five counter do’s to redeem yourself. Consider the path to enlightenment paved!
1. Do take control of your social media privacy settings.
Both Twitter and Facebook have options to hide your feed from the public. It just takes a little time to set up the various groups, but we guarantee it’s worth it so that only your real friends can see what happens when you mix margaritas with a dash of confidence.
2. Do use your right to unsubscribe.
It’s called freedom of speech. Remind your mom to remove you from her forwarding list and to keep the cute kitten pics within the book club — that’s your thing. Do actively unsubscribe, and turn that spam filter on. (Mmmm… Spam.)
3. Do keep it classy.
Play it polite and excuse yourself to email, text, or make a phone call. That may sound old-fashioned, but isn’t it weird when you’re sitting there having to listen to every word of someone’s conversation? Good. We think so, too.
4. Do use brevity.
Novels are awesome — when they’re bound in a book. Keep your social media posts brief and fun. Don’t post detailed agendas or anything that takes up the entirety of your friends’ news feeds. Your friends have other friends whose status updates they want to read.
5. Do be yourself.
Nothing lulls your followers to sleep like phony-sounding messages. Keep it real, and don’t be afraid to be weird! As the late Jim Morrison once questioned, “Where’s your will to be weird?” It’s your quirks that we love, after all.
Now it’s up to you to kindly pass along this column so we can set web etiquette straight. Post this on Facebook and Twitter — we’re sure people won’t mind even if you slip in a teensy bit of a humble brag. Because if you’re helping others, it doesn’t really count as a humble brag… does it?