Social Media Netiquette: New Manners for New Times

Thank You card

Social Media technologies make it quicker and easier to connect and communicate.  Maybe too fast and easy.  Remember all the hard-learned lessons from e-mail? No different here.  To borrow from Letitia Baldridge, the ultimate expert on etiquette, with social media come “new manners for new times.”

Here are 10 guidelines to help you improve your online manners:

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. Remember: That post lasts a lot longer.

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 following on Twitter or friending on Facebook.

6. Don’t unfriend. Uncool. You made the initial commitment. If you have an issue, resolve it. Don’t use Facebook friend delete as an opt out. Update: Facebook has since added a new feature that allows you to “hide” friends. A polite alternative that avoids sticky situations.

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.



Any guidelines I missed?  Please share.  And if you have any experiences, positive or not-so-positive (go ahead and vent!), I would appreciate those as well.

About Alison Cummings

Business Writing, Copywriting, Content Marketing.
Communications + Marketing + Technical Expertise.


  1. Great points! #6 Don’t unfriend is one I don’t see very often. It’s easy enough just to hide someone’s posts that you don’t want to read without bruising their ego by unfriending them.

    • Thanks for the heads up. I will update my post. I wrote this article last March, before this Facebook feature was enabled. Transferred content from another site.

  2. And Ray, just to reply to my own request above, I am adding a link to the relevant article you posted today: How to Play Well With Others on Social Media.