Don't be a Twitter twit: Social media etiquette
Written by Emma Burbidge Posted in Internet, Careers
Social media is a great way to keep up with distant friends, share photos and articles with people and interact with others. It has been influential in revolutions in the Middle East, has brought a new dimension to media and keeping up to date with current events, and is increasingly being used to find jobs. However, people still make the mistake of forgetting that the internet is a public space and have landed themselves in hot water as a result.
Think you can say whatever you want and get away it?
Matthew Woods was jailed for 12 weeks for making offensive comments about the disappearance of school girl April Jones on Facebook. Another youngster was given community service and a fine for criticising soldiers in Afghanistan on Facebook.
When Olympic diver Tom Daley received a stream of offensive tweets, the perpetrator was visited by the police within a couple of hours!
Anything you publish on these sites is subject to law and you can get into serious trouble if you publish something offensive or are hurtful towards others.
So what can be learned from this?
Well, employers are increasingly looking to the internet to form an impression of someone before they take someone on, in the same way that candidates research employers before they apply for a job or go to an interview.
Do you want an employer to form a negative impression of you because of a photo you posted on Instagram or a Tweet you posted the other day? No, I thought not.
‘Protecting your tweets’ is not always the answer as it could give an employer the impression you have something to hide, while having no online presence at all is even worse!
So how can you avoid trouble on social networks?
- Don’t swear on the internet! the net is a public space and you could miss out on potential job opportunities because of it
- Don’t be offensive on social networks. It’s not cool and once you post something it’s potentially there for ever, deleting something doesn’t solve the problem!
- Think about what the consequences might be before you post or tweet something that others might be offended by.
- Think about relevance before you post. Do your followers really want to know what you had for breakfast today?
- Avoid long discussions back and forth over Twitter. This just makes other people feel excluded and will just annoy them when you clog up their twitter streams. Do you really want to have such a private discussion over Twitter anyway? Maybe phoning/texting/emailing is far more appropriate?
- Quote your source. It is so annoying when people post something on Facebook that you posted an hour before without using the ‘share’ button.
- Posting the same thing over and over. As a general rule, for ‘instant’ social networks like Twitter, posting something 2 or 3 times a day is enough to get the message across, for Facebook, just once! People don’t want to read the same thing over and over.
- Think about whether the information you are putting up is something you want to share. It’s fine to vent now and then, but no one wants to see your rants clogging up their Twitter feed or Facebook home page.
- Before you put up photos, think about the image you are projecting. If you don’t want employers to have access to your Facebook photos, then you need to change your privacy settings and only set the best ones of you as your profile picture because these can display on Google.
- Posting on the internet is the same as publishing. With this in mind, make sure you check grammar and spelling in the same way as you would your GCSE coursework!
If you don’t believe that things you post on the internet can be found then try Googling yourself and see how much someone can find out about you!
Keep tweeting but don’t be a twit!
About the Author
Emma Burbidge is the marketing assistant at TCHC. She helps to manage the website and promote the Youth Contract. She enjoys writing for the blog and sharing advice and tips with young people on a range of topics, from finding a job to battling with depression.