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New Manners for New Times: A top 10 guide to Social Media etiquette

Thank You card
Good manners go a long way in the Social Media world.
Remember to acknowledge any feedback or help with a
thanks, especially in support forums, which are often run
by volunteers.

In the seemingly "anything goes" world of social networking, good manners seem out of place, almost antiquated. Yet there are rules,  even in the yet untamed world of Social Media. And most of us have already made a faux pas or two.

Here are 10 guidelines to help you improve your "netiquette" and avoid a future misstep:

1. Don’t double post. Before getting impatient and pushing that button twice, consider it like being double-charged on your credit card. It does cost you.

2. Be discreet. Don’t share everything. Think about it: Do you want to hear a play-by-play of someone’s day. Hellooo ego!

3. Avoid flaming posts. Just because someone’s view is not your own, or you feel slighted by a comment or a response to your post, don’t respond in anger. 

4. Accept responsibility. You own what you post. Be ready to accept any consequences.

5. Respect boundaries. Don’t force a friendship on people. Your boss is not your friend. Nor are probably most of the people you are friending in Facebook. 

6. Don’t unfriend. You made the initial commitment. If you have an issue, resolve it. Don’t use Facebook friend delete as an opt out.

7. Just say no. Avoid becoming a Social Media addict. One famous blogger posted right up to his wife’s delivery. Yeesh. Nothing says get a life like choosing to tweet about a life-changing event vs. participating in it.

8. Know when to step aside. Give others the floor. Don’t dominate the online conversation.

9. Be gracious. Always acknowledge any feedback or help with a thanks, especially in support forums. Many of these are run by volunteers.

10. Bring a gift. Social Media is about sharing and community building. You get and you give. Remember to make a contribution.

A nod to Letitia Baldridge, whose 2003 book title (admittedly modified) inspired this column.

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Alison Cummings is a Web Strategy consultant and Social Media blogger based in Montreal. You can find her on Twitter @alisoncummings and Facebook


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