Many of us are so dependent on our cell phones that we dread the creeping feeling of terror which descends when we realize we’ve left our phone at home, or, more maddeningly, we spot the dreaded “low battery” sign.
It comes a bit of a surprise that there really isn’t a commonly-followed list of digital etiquette rules which is followed in this increasingly switched-on age. Is it OK to text to say you’re taking a day off sick? Should you friend your boss on social media? And what about the virtual minefield of the indulgent Facebook status?
Help is at hand courtesy of BT Mobile and Oxford University, who have teamed up to create a list of 17 social media commandments and digital etiquette rules after studying the behavior of 2,000 adults.
- Firstly, it’s suggested private messaging should be saved for friends only – never try to send one to a random stranger. You should never hide what you’ve been looking at online from your partner, and also it’s best to avoid over-sharing on Facebook (it sucks that you’re heartbroken about your breakup, but your followers don’t want to hear about it – those talks are best to stay private between you and your best friends and not on your public feed).
- Make sure you use social networks the right way; LinkedIn is a professional platform, so save your flirty banter for Tinder. The advice is to step away from the keyboard when you’re feeling emotional too, which means no texting when you’re angry, upset or worst of all drunk. No Facebook posts when you’re tipsy either. In fact, it’s probably best to avoid all social media and apps when you’ve had a few – with the exception of Uber (to get you home safe).
- Don’t put kisses at the end of work emails and never gossip about people via text or social media. If you need the day off you should talk to your boss, not rely on a text, and bad news should also never be related via text.
There were also tips on wishing people a happy birthday, negotiating group messages, snooping on your partner’s phone and then the big one: sorry, but ending a romance over text or social media is a big no-no.
“By nature, humans are social animals,” explained psychologist Dr Peter Collett. “Given that so much of our enjoyment is linked to other people, it’s hardly surprising that we invest so much time and effort into keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances. New digital communications have made it even easier for us to express our true nature, and the research… uncovers some really interesting new trends of the cyber friendship.”
Take a look at all the digital etiquette rules that were put together here. Which rules do you find to be the most important? Which ones do you wish more people followed? Share your thoughts with us below in our comment section.