The way you engage with your friends, family, and contacts on Facebook could have a serious impact on your relationships online and off. Follow these guidelines to ensure your social media conduct is polite, meaningful, and reflects basic human decency.
1. ALWAYS SHOW RESPECT, ESPECIALLY WHEN DISCUSSING OR POSTING ABOUT POLITICS.
You can share your political views—and even disagree with your friends, family, and network—as long as you do it with basic manners. "Don't question someone's intelligence or integrity," Daniel Post-Seining told Business Insider. "Make your argument about the situation or issue, not the person you're talking to."
2. QUIT COMPLAINING.
Grumbling about your life is the second most annoying Facebook offense for users, according to Real Simple. You should never complain about work or colleagues online. You never know you may see it—even with the strictest privacy settings in order. And don't complain about your day-to-day in general. "Nobody likes the complainer," Anna Post, author of Emily Post's Etiquette, told Forbes. Your friends don't want their feed full of Debbie Downers. It's annoying, tacky, and most of all—cringeworthy.
3. AVOID THE "HUMBLEBRAG."
There's nothing worse than a friend posting about their newest shopping purchase, vacation, or achievement and trying to seem modest about it. You may want your friends to know you're #blessed and truly appreciate all that you have, but no one likes a braggart.
4. ALWAYS REVEAL BIG NEWS TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY FIRST.
Engagements, pregnancies, new jobs, births, divorces, deaths, and any other major life event or news should be shared in person or over the phone before it's shared publicly online. It's both impersonal and insensitive to skip this step and may offend loved ones. On the flip side, avoid publicly congratulating someone on their news until they've shared it on social media first—and similarly, don't rush to post a RIP message unless you're sure the deceased's closest relatives would be okay with it. Don't be that person and spill the beans before your friend's had the chance to make the announcement.
5. FIND AND EVALUATE THE ORIGINAL SOURCE BEFORE YOU SHARE.
You may think that popular story is worth a share, but it could be insensitive or deliberately inaccurate. Avoid spreading fake news (defined as deliberate misinformation or hoaxes), , or potentially offensive stories by doing a little research first. "This is especially true on viral content, which may appear innocent, but can carry an inappropriate page name or description," etiquette expert Diane Gottsman wrote on her blog.
6. NEVER POST PHOTOS OF SOMEONE ELSE'S CHILDREN.
Privacy is very important to some parents and families, which is why you should always ask for permission before posting. "People have digital boundaries for their families and it's important to respect them," etiquette guru Lizzie Post told Today.com. It's also against the rules. If a friend shares images of a child under 13 on Facebook without your permission, they're violating Facebook's privacy rights. You have the right to ask the poster to remove the image from Facebook.
7. TURN OFF AUTOMATIC POSTING FROM OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.
Your friends likely follow you on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, in addition to Facebook, so be sure not to overwhelm them with posts they've already seen or liked by making this quick fix.
8. NEVER SHARE UNFLATTERING PHOTOS.
Let's remember the golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. You wouldn't like it if someone shared an embarrassing or unattractive image of you, right?
9. NEVER "LIKE" BAD NEWS.
Hitting the "like" button just doesn't make sense when someone announces the death of a loved one, a divorce, health problems, or any sort of sad or somber post. Use the proper reaction button, or even better, leave a thoughtful comment on the post. "Stick to the comments to share your thoughts. That way the owner can get a personal message from an individual they can relate to rather than a 'like' that can confuse others," Ravi Shukle, a social media expert told MEL Magazine. "If you feel a Facebook 'reaction,' like or comment doesn't really portray how you feel, it's time to reach out on a one-to-one basis."
10. ACKNOWLEDGE TRAGEDIES WITH A SIMPLE, EMPATHIC MESSAGE.
If you want to share your sympathies after a terrorist attack, weather disaster, or death, go for it, but keep in mind this is not the time to inject your political views, judgments, or complaints. A straightforward statement that expresses your support for those affected works best. "Keep it simple with something like 'Our thoughts are with Ottawa today,'" etiquette expert Margaret Page wrote on her blog.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.