From the uncivilized nomads to a civilized society-it took us thousands of years to reach here.  Ethics and Etiquette too became a part of this civilized world. In the last few years though, the world has sort of churned itself in a big way, with the internet being the harbinger of that change. Now by and large, we live in two worlds, and it’s the reality today. Our online avatar is as valid as the real (unless of course, if one chooses to go incognito) since social media is now becoming more and more legitimate in business as well as in personal life.  The dynamics of personal relationships and interactions have changed. We meet and interact with more people in the virtual world than in our real lives and our presence here is only going to increase in the coming time. The way we behave or act in real life is being increasingly transferred into the online world.

Quite validly, it’s time that ethics and etiquette take a shape here as well, for the smooth functioning of this world. While rules are something that governs the society, in this case the social media, and are ought to be followed, ethics and etiquette are more philosophical, where you make specific moral choices and stick to it. A concept of what is good, bad, right or wrong, something that exists within the context of our society, is what makes ethics and etiquette.  In social media, the right etiquette means the right perspective, the right thinking on how to use the social media responsibly and effectively and how to engage people in the right manner.

In this article, I shall focus on the ‘Personal Social media’ etiquette. There are three basic principles that one should try to follow while engaging in social media activities.

Do to others as you wish to be done by-

This is one adage, which has guided me through my life, and I extend it to the virtual world too. Before commenting or posting, think what your take would be on the same and then act accordingly. Treat people with respect and kindness. Also respect the boundaries of others.

Transparency-

I have always believed in being transparent (alright, sometimes it has landed me in a soup…but found it worthwhile still) It may be difficult to be so in a certain circumstance, but it will hold you in good stead. Communicate in an honest and open manner. If you show others who you are and what you stand for, truthfully, people will respect you. You will establish rapport. Truth is an ethical value that everyone respects. They, in turn, will want to be truthful with you as well.

Sincerity-

People will respond positively if they know you are sincere and mean your words.

Other than these, there are some etiquettes, which when not adhered to, may not really seem harmful, but they are, believe you me. You may lose friends and all that you have tried to achieve through these activities.

Don’t be a narcissist; no one likes someone who only talks about himself/herself. To be self-centered only in small dosage..ahh that’s quite acceptable.

Don’t spam with your innumerable photos; some people have this habit of posting too many photos and thus spamming the social media page of their friends. Use your discretion.  If you do want to use this platform as an album, do so in private mode.

 

Don’t rant; it never presents you in a positive light. Putting forth your opinion is different, and ranting is different.

Don’t tag without asking; you may want to post the photos you are looking good in, but please refrain from tagging your friends in those. They may have a different opinion as to which photo of theirs are worth sharing.

Don’t comment without reading the content; you may look foolish besides exposing your insincere approach.

Don’t take your friends for granted; respond and thank those who engage with you.

Don’t post everything on social media; there may be people/friends who might hold different opinions than yours. Do think about their feelings. This place is a congregation of people with different backgrounds.

Don’t indulge in negative or belligerent discussions; it shall only create bad vibes.

Don’t forward a post till its verified by authentic sources.

Do not forget to give credit , if you are using information/content from sources other than your own.

Social media has tremendous power, it moves much faster than our offline world, so it’s important to follow proper etiquette when you engage with other users/friends. The best part is, we don’t even have to learn it from scratch. We already follow them offline, let’s welcome that into our online world too.

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