It's 2012, the internet is an amazing place. We're online, we're meeting new people and we're cultivating our own personal spot of the world wide web to share information - as Yahoo! put it, "we're masters of our own universe".
We use Facebook to visualise our life in Timeline, we curate the web with Twitter, hang out with friends on Google+ and explore the world with Foursquare. Things are going great. But are they?
With all these new services and online opportunities, there comes a set of rules to adhere to - codes of conduct and expected etiquette - a right and wrong way of doing things. It's this digital etiquette that makes the distinction between the socially acceptable and the social faux pas.
Just like the offline world, our manners reveal our personality so even when we're online it's important to remember our Ps and Qs. To navigate these social situations and promote our very best side, here's a list of some of the most common digital pitfalls to avoid:
Hollywood tweet - We've all been there, our favourite celebrity on Twitter posts an update. We instantly get caught up in the moment and reply with our thoughts. We don't get a reply - we'll never get a reply.
VIP check-in - It's once in a blue moon and we're going to the coolest club, bar or restaurant in town. It's so cool that we want everyone to know about it. We get there and immediately Foursquare or Facebook check-in. How cool are we? Not very.
Online mob - The latest scandal hits the web, the online masses come together to direct witty insults at scale, congratulating each other on the clever humour. We are the Twitterati, nothing can stop us - but what if the tables turn and we find ourselves in the same situation one day? Karma.
Emotional overshare - We're at a low point in our life, something tragic has happened. We're at a loss, we don't know what to do. We turn to our social networks to vent - we don't realise that Facebook is not therapy. Some things are better kept personal - in other words, offline.
Digital autograph - Chasing celebrities across the world is an expensive game, but now we don't need to head to LA or Miami, we can simply go on Twitter. "Dear celebrity, please RT this message, it will make my day". Will it really?
Status for one - We've had an argument with a friend or loved one. We're frustrated; we want to make our point. How do we do it? We take to Facebook and craft a status update to covertly get the last word. We look like an idiot - it's transparent.
Information overshare - We love social media. We've got a lot to say and now the Internet gives us a platform to talk to the world in real-time. We've got so much to say that we clog our friends' feeds. Remember, less is more.
Casual Like - We're on Facebook and we see our friend post an update. It's a good update, but not worthy of a Comment. We feel the need to show our support so we Like it. Why did we Like it? We'll never know.
The Internet is a wonderful place to be - let's make it even better and show some respect for our fellow digital gentlemen and ladies. If you have a suggestion for improving the etiquette of the web, use the hashtag #socialfauxpas and join the conversation online.
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