With the wide adoption of social media over the last couple of years, the conversation has evolved away from “Why use social media?” to “How do you use social media?”.  A simple Google search for “social media etiquette” brings up 1,580,000 results. But do we really need all of those articles to tell us how to behave online?

Sites like LinkedIn have shifted us away from anonymous internet usage to an age of personal branding and online identity ownership. So, if our online profiles are to be taken as extensions of ourselves or at least representations of our best self, shouldn’t our actions online just be a reflection of what we are like offline?

If social media is just a new tool to achieve the same end goal – to communicate – shouldn’t the same rules for communicating in person or over the telephone apply?

If LinkedIn was a real-life networking event, how would you react if you saw these behaviours?

Most interactions online are analogous to situations we encounter offline. This begs the question; do we really need a whole new set of rules on how to behave on social networks? Let me know what you think in the comments.

7 Responses

  1. So funny how all of this is “common sense” and yet so many people struggle to do these things, which necessitated you to write this post in the first place… 🙂

    1. According to Google (search, not Inc.) it was Voltaire who said that common sense wasn’t so common 😉
      I believe that some people are idiots or worse. But most are probably just clueless and/or lazy 😉

  2. Hi Maebellyne

    I mostly agree with what you wrote and totally love this article.

    Since we don’t have any physical proximity online, I believe that a more “vague” behavior than in face-to-face situations is okay. Say I visit a LinkedIn group only 2-3 times per year, I think it’s still okay to “like” one or two discussions or comments. At an event where nobody knows me it would however be weird if I came in, tapped somebody on the shoulder and walked away 😉

    But you’re right that we don’t need any special rules for online behavior. There’s already the Golden Rule or Bill Boorman’s “social media policy”: Be a grown up!

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