I know what you’re thinking. Internet etiquette? It’s the internet, there is no etiquette.
But see, you would be wrong.
Because everything you post online, every snide comment, scathing retort, and misquided or misunderstood witticism, is there for all the world to see and it stays there until you delete it. And even then there are ways to get it back, or so I’m told.
This means that past, present and future friends, colleagues, partners and employers can all see how you interact with people, and what kind of person lurks behind that cool exterior. Oh, and you can add the government to that list. Not just yours, but more than likely several, and even your great aunty Zelda. You didn’t think she used Facebook? Best think again. Even regular Joe’s who you don’t notice lurking online and don’t give much of a shit about anyway can pose a threat.
The DO’s are quite simple: DO use the Internet however you see fit, DO surf to your heart’s content, DO find some of its hidden corners, DO look up those old friends and flames, and DO find new ones. In short, have a blast. Just be aware of a few DON’T’s.
By the way, this (non-exhaustive) list is aimed primarily at indie writers and other internet marketers, but with a little improvisation, can be applied to just about anyone’s daily life. It is designed to help, not hinder.
DON’T post book links, or any promotional material, direct to people’s Facebook wall.
DON’T send book links, or any other promotional material, in the form of direct messages. This topic is particularly prickly amongst the Twitteratti. They fucking hate it.
DON’T tag people in political posts or rants about Lady Gaga, football, the environment, the refugee crisis, veganism, or anything else that could be construed as even vaguely divisive or controversial. The post likely reflects YOUR opinion, not that of the people you are tagging, and by tagging them you are associating them with your views against their will.
DON’T add people to groups without their permission, even if you think you’re doing them a favour. Just don’t.
When commenting on other people’s threads, DON’T see that as an opportunity to drop your book link. That, my friend, is spam, and it tastes like shit.
Similarly, when people ask for book recommendations, DON’T recommend your own book. Show some humility, you pretentious asshole.
Listen, I get that some people just aren’t very savvy. They might mean well, and just don’t know what they are doing is annoying the shit out of people. But the vast majority of social network users know exactly what they are doing. They know they are taking liberties and being annoying. They just don’t care. That’s just disrespectful.
Do yourself a favour, follow these unwritten rules, and make social networking less painful and awkward for the people who know you.
This post was first published on the Deviant Dolls website.