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You’re still being a digi-douchebag: Five more social media etiquette rules you should follow

Back in February I wrote a list of five simple tech etiquette rules everyone should follow to avoid being a “digi-douchebag”.

It included things like turning your phone off in cinemas, only tagging people in Facebook photos when you have permission, and not using your iPad to take photos at a concert.

Sadly, my exposure of these obnoxious behaviours has failed to eradicate them. Not only that, but just seven months later we have a whole new list of infractions to deal with. I swear, it’s like humanity never stops working out ways to be objectionable on the internet.

So here goes.

How to not to be a digi-douchebag Part 2: Social media edition.

Don’t reply to Facebook group messages

Sandra is having a party. Sandra decides the best way to let everyone know about said party is to send a group message to all her 350 friends on Facebook.

What happens next is the social media equivalent of this:

“Sounds great Sandra!”

“I’ll be there!”

“Can’t wait to see Mark and the kids!”

“Sorry I’ll be in Hawaii but I’ll think of you while I’m on the beach! LOL”

“Can’t wait Sandra BTW have you seen my new baby here’s a pic.”

For those of us who actually use Facebook Messenger as a legitimate form of communication, and have it set up on our phones to make a ‘ping!’ noise every time we get a chat message, this sort of spontaneous group chat makes our iPhone sound like a pokie machine.

Ping! Ping! Ping! your phone will go, as 350 stupid people inform stupid Sandra whether they’re coming to her stupid party or not. What’s worse – you won’t even know half of them, but you’ll weather the storm because no one wants to be the first to do this:

*Petra has left the conversation*

Which is basically the Facebook equivalent of this:

Not only will you look like a supreme bitch, but you’ll immediately lose the details of the party Sandra sent in the original message, which means you won’t go and everyone will probably spend the evening talking about how horrible you are.

Here’s a tip: if you want to invite more than three people to an event, set up a Facebook event page. And if you receive a group message that doesn’t require you to respond to all recipients, open up a new window and reply to the sender individually. Save everyone the heartache, and the pings.

Don’t be a content thief

You pride yourself on being a bit of a web curator. You read a lot of articles. You know your memes. You hang out on Reddit – not just the front page either, but some seriously obscure subs. And you’ve just found the coolest video of Jim Henson smoking a joint with Kermit that you just have to share on Facebook.

Nek minit: your high school friend who you haven’t even seen in 10 years shares the same link. Could they have found it independently? Unlikely. Cue indignation and unfriending.

It seems trivial, but sharing something you’ve seen someone else post on social media without crediting them is just plain rude.

It’s like seeing someone hold up a treasure saying “Look what I found!”, and then grabbing it from their hand and yelling “Mine!”

Like this.

Yes, social media is all about sharing – but there’s a difference between sharing something someone else has found, and stealing it from them and pretending you found it.

Don’t be a drag, just tag!

Don’t tag others in your Twitter arguments.

Speaking of tagging, there’s nothing more annoying than being dragged into a random Twitter debate because one person decided to tag you against your will.

These arguments usually go something like this:

@Petstarr: Gee I love green apples.

@RandomPerson: And red too! RT @Petstarr Gee I love green apples.

@Moron: Communist! RT @RandomPerson And red too! RT @Petstarr Gee I love green apples.

@RandomPerson: I’m a communist because I like red apples? @Moron @Petstarr 

@TotallyIrrelevant: NZ apples are ruining Aussie farmers buy local! @RandomPerson @Moron @Petstarr 

@Moron: Only a communist would say that. @RandomPerson @TotallyIrrelevant @Petstarr 

@AuspolIdiot: Tony Abbott is dumb. @RandomPerson @TotallyIrrelevant @Petstarr 

@Petstarr: Can you all stop tagging me please..? @RandomPerson @Moron @TotallyIrrelevant @AuspolIdiot

Unlike with Facebook group messages, you can’t leave these conversations. If they keep tagging you, you’ll keep receiving tweets about apples, or communists or Tony Abbott until everyone dies, or the end of time, whichever comes first. Or until you block them all.

Don’t force your followers to read your boring Twitter conversations

There’s only one thing worse than being repeatedly tagged in a boring Twitter argument, and that’s being forced to read the boring Twitter conversations of the people you follow.

Basic Twitter rule: If you start your tweet with an @ mention of someone, only people following both you and that person will be able to see it in their timeline. That’s because, in all probability, it’s not relevant to everyone else.

This allowance means you can have extended conversations with your Twitter buddies – or arguments with randoms – that won’t bother all of your followers. Unless, of course, you manually RT or put a full stop at the start. Then you’re just being a douchebag.

Often employed by celebrity tweeters to expose annoying trolls, this tactic takes a conversation one party intended as ‘private’, and makes it public.

This is all quite amusing when you’re talking about James Blunt tweeting hilarious responses to critics, but not so much when Joe Blow who doesn’t know how to use Twitter properly starts broadcasting all his dull conversations with mates.

It’s not only annoying for your followers, it’s exceptionally rude to whoever you’re tweeting with.

Next time you’re having a quiet conversation with your friend at the pub, try yelling out everything he says to the rest of the bar and see how happy everyone is about it.

Don’t pester for a retweet

On the flipside, people who actually beg for a retweet on Twitter are more annoying than my dog scratching at the door in the morning. And he is pretty annoying.

after walk

My dog. Cute, but annoying.

Retweet beggars are almost always shilling something to do with charity, and they rely on you feeling guilty to spread their message. Which you undoubtedly will, so you’ll hit the retweet button without checking what the message actually is, and you’ll end up spreading Nazi propaganda or something. Just because you felt guilty.

Lost dogs, children, community service messages, all prefaced with a “Can I get a RT?” wend their way into your timeline, and you can’t say no, because to say no would be insensitive and cruel, and all you have to do is hit the button, why don’t you just hit the button, how hard can that be?

If you have to beg individual people to retweet your message, you need to work on your marketing campaign strategy.

So, those are my five tech etiquette rules for leading a happy and respectful life online. Got any more?

About the author

A former web designer turned journalist, Petra has 10 years’ experience in digital media having worked as the online editor of South Australia’s Sunday Mail and as the national social media and technology reporter for News Corp Australia. As iPad editor for The Advertiser, she also oversaw the launch of the masthead’s first iPad app in 2010. Her work has been published in Elle Australia, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Courier Mail, The Advertiser, Sunday Mail and The Vine.

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Comments (1)


    Wednesday 27 August 2014

    Excellent use of Nek Minit!