Social media manners – an introduction

Dear readers and followers,

After a very long time in which Une belle infidèle! has basically been the platform for Knotty’s videos, I am back with a post about some sides of communication that we overlook too often in our modern world. We often complain about the lack of privacy and the invasion of social media and technological devices in what is supposed to be real life, but what do we do to limit all that? Do we know what is polite and what is not when it comes to the online world? And, even when we do, do we respect the rules?

We all know the basics, and a good communicator should always know how to adapt the language to the audience and how to use the different tools to obtain a certain result. I do not believe in not swearing as a matter of principle; for instance, there are conversations in which it is needed, and I definitely do it when I feel like or when I know it will disturb someone and that is exactly what I want to obtain. As an interpreter, I have been trained to swear if the speaker does, it is my duty to convey that same message, and I still remember when, still new in it, I sugarcoated the swearword, that is in my mind as stain in my professional career. What can we do to keep it polite when we want to swear on social media? As on TV they cover the word with a beep, on the internet we can use asterisks to mask some letters, but in both cases we are just saying it without taking full responsibility. It is a choice that in some cases may be wise to avoid being censored, and that I used several times, but it always feels crippled. Another option is to replace the swearword with one that sounds similar: Please tell me you also used fudge instead of fuck at least once and still feel guilty!
Well, all this talking about swearwords seems to cover that side of the subject, but what about being polite in general when using social media? You know, all those unsaid rules that correspond to not staying for too long in someone else’s house, not being too loud or offensive, do not use someone else’s things without permission and so on? They also exist on the web, and as the usual ones they are based on common sense. Let us see some of them.
– One’s timeline is like someone’s garden, one puts flowers and decorations that not everyone likes, but it is one’s personal space, so it is no one else’s business at the end of the day. That is why we can limit what we publish to friends, acquaintances or just a specific group, exactly as we do not allow anyone in our garden.
– The different photo albums are like the rooms of a house, and the same rules basically apply to them and to the timeline. As we should not steal objects from someone’s house even if we are allowed in it, we should not simply share private stuff and pictures from someone else’s profile without asking. Of course, there are different cases, and when a friend of mine shared a very funny picture of my dog that I modified, that was not an invasion of my privacy, I was amused by that. Another example is when some people tend to abuse hospitality and extend their stay at someone else’s place until it becomes unbearable; it is not different in posts on social media. We share stuff to keep a record of what we do but also to let people know what we are doing, either because they are far away, or because we want to brag about that; sometimes, we want to inform or to share our ideas through links. We may agree or not with our friends’ thoughts, but to start defending a position against what someone else has published, covering the comment section with long, nasty messages is not the way, one can either share the link on one’s own timeline and express one’s own opinion in his own space, or just have a private chat with the other person, you would not like to be grabbed outside your house to be criticised for your ideas, would you? Then, why doing  the same online? Moreover, the rest of friends will have to see that, which is very uncomfortable. Private chats exist exactly for that: private conversations, especially if one of the two parts has very clear declared points of view and thoroughly avoids stepping into the commenting fight. Why keep insisting in his own house about what he thinks?
– Offending is never nice and apologising is always a sign of maturity, in real life as in social media.  Thanking people is polite and usually acknowledged. In my opinion, thanking on social media may be slightly different than in real life, that is why I consider a like in a retweet or a mention or comment equal to a thank you message, but that is, even more than the rest that I wrote here, my personal point of view.
What is your opinion? Do you have any more tips on how to be polite on social media and online in general? Please share your thoughts, comments, and links to similar posts.
Also, don’t forget to keep being naughty, Knotty surely will!!!
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