"If you think business and manners don’t mix, try talking with your mouth full.” - Diane Gottsman, Modern Manners & Etiquette Expert, Author, Media Resource

Social Media Etiquette

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Whether you’re at the office, attending a celebration or using the restroom, there are definite do’s and don’ts to using technology appropriately. Here are a few of my favorite tips to help you navigate the complex waters of social media etiquette in specific situations:

The Office

  • Don’t vent about office frustrations. Social media may seem to offer a convenient outlet for sharing your feelings and frustrations after a bad day at work—but it’s not smart to use your smartphone in this way. Whether or not you’re connected with colleagues on Facebook or other social media, what you’ve posted on your page often finds its way public. If you say anything about work via social media, steer clear of negative comments, and remain positive at all times.
  • Do limit your time on social media during the workday. While some employers block social media sites on office networks, others trust their employees to manage their own time spent on social media while on the clock. If you’ve been given this privilege, respect your boss and colleagues by spending most of your time at work actually working. You don’t want to be known as that person who is “always on Facebook” every time someone walks by your desk.

Weddings & Special Events

  • Do make a personal connection first. The special people in your life deserve to hear your big news before the whole world finds out on Facebook. Tell family members and close friends about your engagement and wedding news before posting or tweeting about it more widely.
  • Don’t over-tweet the details. Sharing your joy through occasional posts, tweets or photos about your wedding either before, during or after it is one thing—oversharing is another. Remember: everything in moderation. You don’t want guests to be tired of the topic before you even get to the altar.
  • Do make sure you know the couple’s preferences. Wedding guests also need to follow social media etiquette. Just like everyone has a different approach to their wedding ceremony, couples will also have their own preferences when it comes to use of social media during their wedding. Rather than assume that it’s okay to tweet and post pictures to Facebook and Instagram during (or even after) a wedding, check with the couple first.

Restrooms

  • Don’t take it with you. While this point doesn’t seem to need justification, studies show that a surprising 75% of people sometimes take their cell phones into the bathroom with them—and 87% talk or text from the toilet! It doesn’t take a scientist to know that this leads not only to poor etiquette, but to poor health and safety practices that can result in the spread of bacteria.
  • Do remember where your posts might end up. While you may just be in the restroom to step away from the crowd, keep in mind that often accidental pictures develop a life of their own. An innocent selfie can accidentally capture someone else’s image in the background. A few of your social media followers may not be able to resist the temptation to repost these photos, which is ultimately an invasion of someone else’s privacy.
  • Do leave it at your seat. Airplane lavatories aren’t a personal phone booth. Respect your fellow travelers and those you’re communicating with on social media by leaving your smartphone back at your seat when you use the restroom.

When it comes to courteous use of social media in these and other situations, a good rule of thumb is: “When in doubt, don’t.” It’s much easier to catch up on social media at a better time than to extricate yourself from a social media faux pas. Click here for more social media tips.

ETIQUETTE EXPERT
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