The rules of social networking etiquette

Brenda Powell · August 6, 2009 · Short URL:

What is social networking etiquette?

 There is a lot to be said for someone who has good etiquette.  In life, etiquette is very important whether in business or personal relationships. That said social networking etiquette mimics that of etiquette in daily life.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t experience some sore of etiquette faux pas, and often times they are repeat offenders.  Are any of these considered socially acceptable to you?

  • Decide someone is your friend without properly introducing yourself?
  • Approach your friends and those you barely know every day asking them to come to your event?
  • Only talk about yourself and promote yourself all day long?

Hopefully you answered no to all of these.  However, if you did answer yes to any of the above, I would suggest taking a class on social etiquette before you login to Facebook again- seriously.  I hope that this will serve as an overview of social networking etiquette violations and help you to avoid making them.  Being an educated social networker will help you manage and maintain better online relationships and strengthen your network.

Abusing friend requests.  Do you send out friend requests to everyone? People you don’t know included?  There is nothing more irritating than someone who is only trying to build up their numbers and sending out friend requests to everyone.

If you must add someone you don’t know, be sure to send a message with your name, a proper introduction, and why you want to connect.  Adding users as friends without proper introductions is just plain rude and diminishes the strength of your network.

Obnoxious application overload.  Do you send everyone on your friends list a “Gift” or a “Drink” every week?  Well cut it out, nobody wants to get a “Gift” or a “Drink” unless it’s real and or has vodka in it.  There are so many useless applications out there and for some reason some people feel the need to consistently invite friends to participate.  Many would consider this spam.

I don’t want to join your group!  Do you send out invites to your friends list every week to get them to join your group?  If your friends are interested, they’ll likely join without your “reminders”.  And if they don’t accept, please don’t send the group request more than once or start asking them to join via email, wall post, or message, obviously they don’t want to join!

Become my Fan! First of all, it is not appropriate to suggest your page to a friend if they do not know you or know of your company.  Additionally, just as with a group, do not suggest the page to your friends more than once.  Do not abuse the “Suggest Page to a Friend”

Too Much Information!  Please remember that the Wall feature on Facebook is PUBLIC!  Publicizing a private conversation on a wall post is just in poor taste. Facebook wall posts are completely public to all your friends (unless you tweak your privacy settings). Private matters should always be handled privately: via email or through personal messages.

Oh no she didn’t!  Please take discretion when you post those pictures from your trip to Vegas.  When you post pictures of yourself and of friends always be considerate and do not post pictures that may end up costing your friends (or yourself) their jobs or business.  If a picture is ever in question, ask permission first before you post!

Me! Me! Me!  Constantly using your social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) for nothing but self-promotion.  There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that will make me un-follow or de-friend someone faster than this.  Before following anyone, I always check their stream to see the quality of content if I can.

Be proud to be you.  Personalize your profile.  Put your picture up there (make sure to refer back to #xxx).  Tell people who you are in the bio.  Social networking is about real relationships. Add a custom background and don’t forget to put up some sort of contact information.  They really liked what you wrote.

Shameless Self-Promotion.  Just as said above about repeated self-promotion, the same goes for streaming only your blog’s RSS feed. Point, Un-follow, click.  Bye Bye.

Read all about it!
  Please, please do not use social networking sites as a public sounding board for personal and confidential correspondence. If you were dissatisfied with something that occurred do not publicize it by broadcasting your dissatisfaction with the turnout to your entire audience. It looks very unprofessional for you and makes you appear untrustworthy.

Nice to meet you.  Send a direct message to every new follower/friend promoting yourself or your products. Don’t be surprised if you quickly lose followers/friends.

Spam! It is never a good idea to export your connections information to add them to your email list that you send an email to every week.  If they wanted your newsletter they would join, trust me.

Buy from me!  It is also never a good idea to find email addresses of individuals you would like to sell to from social sites in order to send them something to try to sell them or promote yourself.

Can you endorse me? Please?!
Please do not ask someone to give you a review or endorsement if you don’t know them well enough for them to give you an accurate review.  Think- people that you have worked with are the best to ask.

Extra! Extra! Read all about me! 
When the only articles you post are your own, its time to step away from the social media sites and find a new article you did NOT write to post.  

Movie Reel.  Please do not ask me to watch you stupid video any more.  I also do not want to subscribe to your channel so I can watch more of this crap. And no I will definitely not give you a 5 star rating.

As said previously, etiquette in the social networking world is much like that in real life and everything you do should be done rationally. These are just a few of the most major etiquette faux pas that should be avoided at all costs if you want to save yourself from dealing with angry friends & followers.  Think before you post anything, whether it be a picture or text because it may come back to haunt you someday. Foul language, racial slurs or comments, or any sort of insulting words should not be taken lightly and should NEVER be done.  Always remember that friends, family and coworkers may be seeing what you are posting.

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Social Networking Girls is a social networking marketing firm that helps companies market themselves using social networking and viral marketing.  We spend the time researching the best practices for social networking and put them to use for you in ways that make sense.