Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Etiquette and a University Student's Ten Commandments of Social Media

"The Ten Commandments of social media. Learn it, live it, love it. It will make life easier and more enjoyable for everyone." David Coats, The Daily Titan

1. Thou shalt not post vague, whiny rants.
Great advice! Writing regularly in a journal has been proven to reduce stress.
Everyone goes through tough times. Posting complaints on social media sites may be cathartic for you, but it’s annoying for everyone else. Buy a journal.

2. Thou shalt not get offended without fully understanding what it is that has you so upset. 

The world is full of opinions, more than likely ones you won’t agree with. But flying off the handle and claiming you’re offended by something you don’t actually understand will only make you look like a fool. Read the full article or post. Consider why the author came to this line of thinking and then think about what you’re hoping to gain from your response.

3. Thou shalt consider thy audience. 

You know who wants to see pictures of your kids, siblings, nephews and nieces? Family members. That’s it. OK, maybe a few close friends. But the vast majority of your 864 Facebook friends or Twitter followers could not care less that your 3-year-old cousin has a tee-ball game on Sunday. Speaking of which, don’t invite people to events you know they will never even consider attending otherwise. It’s awkward for everyone involved.

4. Thou shalt not post every meal ever consumed. 

We post very few meals, but these were excellent!
We get it, you like delicious food. You know who else likes delicious food? Everyone. Much like the Fourth Commandment, very few people care about the turkey and cheese sandwich you had for lunch. Notable exceptions to this include special occasions, ridiculously fancy/expensive meals (but only if they’re a rare occurrence), horrible mishaps in the kitchen that everyone can laugh at, and exceptional homemade recipes that are then shared.

5. Thou shalt check Snopes.com before posting any news articles that seem too good to be true. 

At Etiquipedia, we're on the fence when it comes to Snopes. The site seems too good to be true. But for now, we'll just go with it.

No, your uncle doesn’t know a guy who found a Harley Davidson once owned by Elvis, that lady was not rescued off an island thanks to Google Maps, and the average person does not swallow eight spiders per year. All of these rumors have been disproved. Also, if you do decide to post something and get called out on it, don’t get upset. You should have done your research before proclaiming to the world that drinking Mountain Dew will shrink a man’s testicles. Newsflash, it won’t.

6. Thou shalt not try to guilt one’s friends and/or followers into liking or retweeting something in support of another person or a cause they know nothing about. 

That’s great that you liked the picture of the kids on Facebook holding the sign that says their mom will quit smoking if they get one million likes. Good for you. Now leave the normal people alone. Those posts mean nothing. Other than you’re gullible and probably have a guilty conscience.

7. Thou shalt not ask celebrities or brands to follow you.    

But what about "former celebrities?" After all, who isn't on board with Twinkies and weird visors?  

Why should they follow? Famous people rarely run their own account. Celebrities like 50 Cent and Britney Spears have people to run their social media accounts, as does President Barack Obama, according to a 2009 New York Times article. They have far better things to do with their time than to comb through thousands of mentions from people either telling them how much they hate them, how much they love them, or trying to solicit money from them. Asking someone to follow you on social media might be the ultimate act of desperation.

8. Thou shalt realize that Reddit exists. 

Not everyone uses Reddit, and that’s perfectly fine. But all those hilarious pictures you insist on posting and tweeting more than likely originated there. Reddit is kind of like the beginning of the Internet. This means a lot of people have already seen that picture of the cat you think is just too funny not to share. Don’t take it personally when it doesn’t get liked, retweeted or favorited. It’s old news to a lot of people.

9. Thou shalt not post/tweet anything you wouldn’t say to someone in person. 

Psssst! Did you hear about ..... ?
Don’t be a keyboard warrior. Just because there’s a computer screen in front of you does not mean there isn’t a real person on the other end. If you’re legitimately upset with someone, be a human and reach out to them to resolve it. Don’t post an insulting comment that you know will do nothing but make the situation worse. Grow up.

10. Thou shalt have fun. 

Social media is there for everyone to share those stupid cat pictures and laugh at old photos from freshman year in high school. Don’t be the person who posts the attention-seeking “woe is me” status. Be the person who posts the picture from the senior prom when you spilled punch all over yourself and/or your date.

This was originally published in May of 2014, in the Opinion section of  The Daily Titan, for California State University, Fullerton.  Author David Coats was a staff writer from the Spring 2014 COMM 471 class.