Social Graces: What to Share (and Not Share) on Social Media

What you need to know to maintain a professional presence online.

Blank paperback book cover isolated over white background with rPROBLEM Social-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn give you more ways than ever to express yourself. How do you know what to share and what to keep to yourself — especially when it comes to maintaining a professional online presence?

SOLUTION In Netiquette Essentials: New Rules for Minding Your Manners in a Digital World, futurist Scott Steinberg offers a framework for “equipping contemporary high-tech users with the tools and training they need to not only be courteous and respectful of others, but also responsible digital citizens” — including tips for being a responsible social-media user:

  • Understand that each social network has its own rules of conduct, social norms, and methods of interaction.
  • Assume that everything you post online can be seen by others, as even major social networks have suffered privacy breaches.
  • Do not share information that online friends have shared with you in confidence, e.g., quoting someone’s private tweet to you.
  • Log out of all your social networks when finished using them, and when you are using a computer or mobile device that isn’t yours.
  • Realize that everything posted online lives on the internet permanently, and may be available for public viewing. › Never forget: Despite their seeming intimacy, social networks are among  the most public of spaces — it’s important to conduct yourself on them as you would in any shared setting.
  • You reserve the exclusive right, and it is wholly appropriate, to decline friend requests from strangers.
  • Privacy and personal comfort are paramount: At no point should you feel  compelled to respond to messages or queries from people you don’t know.
  • Before posting on others’ profiles or walls, or tagging them in your own  posts, consider how your actions and/or statements may be perceived, and if they may potentially cast friends in a negative light and/or embarrass them.
  • Use privacy settings to limit who can view your posts and shares.
  • When asking someone you don’t know to be your friend, send  a short message explaining who you are and why you’re attempting to contact them.

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Convene Editors

  • Great Article! I think social media is such a common place occurrence we often forget when you post something on social media that you expose it to the world. More than likely you will be search online before any sort of business transaction. Great tips to keep in mind.