Navigating the modern day world is not always straightforward. Social interactions involve reading other people’s personalities and adjusting your behaviour accordingly, which is not necessarily an easy task – especially if you’re lacking in the social skills department – but at least you have one-on-one interactions to work with. #IRL the rules have basically been established for how to connect with another human being properly – don’t hit them, don’t scream in their face, pop a breath mint, listen, respond and just be nice. But with all the never-ending stream of new apps and social media tools we’ve come to accept into our lives via our iPhone appendage, there’s a whole new set of rules to follow and with it a lengthy list of social land mines to avoid.
Everyone seems to have their own personal guideline for what’s okay and what’s not on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat, but it’s very easy to misstep. People are much more sensitive to social media communication, as it’s often left open to the interpretation of the receiver, and completely lacks the benefit of nonverbal cues. I certainly have yet to successfully read between all the lines and gain a solid footing on the social media terrain, but I have realized a few golden rules – do’s and don’ts – if you will, learned through experience, that will inform my snapping/gramming/and tweeting behaviour in the future.
DO – Check your grammar before posting, otherwise you’ll get stuck with the embarrassing ‘Edited’ designation on any Facebook post (n00b) or will have to delete your Tweet entirely.
DON’T – Follow someone you’re casually dating on Instagram. I personally think it’s torture to have to see what someone new is posting or be put in the position to keep tabs on their comings/goings/likings/followings too early on. There are way too many things you could incorrectly read into and get your feathers unnecessarily ruffled about.
DO – Add your Instagram captions/tags after you’ve posted it and quickly confirmed it looks right on your feed. You don’t want to bombard someone with a million notifications each time you change the filter on your pic #DecisionsAreHard
DON’T – Start beef/air your dirty laundry via social media.
DO – Be thoughtful about what you post on your social media accounts in terms of appropriateness/aesthetic/consistency/wit. Depending on what field you’re in, a future employer could be creeping your platforms to see that what you’re putting out into the world is *ON BRAND* with how you’ve pitched yourself to them.
DON’T – Hand your phone over to a friend who’s been drinking to check out the new person you’re crushing on’s Instagram account. The chances of an accidental follow/like – thus completely blowing your cover – are way too high.
DO – Properly tag friends or local businesses in your posts – everyone deserves to share in the social media limelight. Plus that’s the whole point isn’t it? Being able to connect with lots of different people, right? (And here I just thought it was the best way to creep my fave celebs/crushes).
DON’T – Send NSFW posts over social media. A) You never know who can see them B) Or who they’re being shared with and most importantly C) THE DREADED CLOUD!!! You just know there’s one nasty cloud up in the sky, sagging under the weight of all the dirty pics it’s holding – surely they’re gonna start raining down on Earth one day soon.
DO – Follow lots of cool people, and DON’T – worry about having an uneven ratio of following:followers. It’s not a bad thing to have a broad source of inspiration to draw from.
DON’T – I REPEAT – DO NOT – Send a Snapchat when inebriated (especially to an ex). It’s very possible you won’t remember sending it, and you’re not allowed to 1) go back and see what you’ve sent, and EVEN WORSE, 2) take back what you’ve sent. Trust me, this mistake will haunt you.
DO – Try to stay off your many social media streams when you’re hanging with real people, in real life. It’s more important to engage, and be present than to like @badgalriri’s newest photo or read through @kanyewest’s latest Twitter rant (though it is important that you do so when you get home – a girl’s gotta stay informed y’all)