The 6 essential guidelines on how to act on Social Media

Imagine. Social media, a place where people know how to behave. It is upsetting; this lack of manners on places such as Twitter and Facebook – isn’t it?

Part of the problem is that social media has sprung up so rapidly over the last few years – we have yet to dictate the proper manner to conduct ourselves up in there. It’s like a free for all, Wild West where everyone lets loose.

Back in my primary school years, we had a class called “Ethics”. This class covered everything from how to eat your KFC to sounding intelligent in polite conversation. Back then, there was no such thing as Facebook.  Since some of us do not have any better judgment, we need an ethics guide to social media.

The following six rules should become the standard code of conduct – when it comes to social media.


Rule 1:  Do NOT send private messages containing pictures of your Dick or Boobs!!!!!!

There is a place and time for everything in life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are not places for sending a picture of your private parts. Don’t believe that such things happen? My friend Hasty has recently written this post in response to such a blatant abuse of social media ethics.

I am assuming that there are sites, where such things are customary and even encouraged. Perhaps sending something like that to other members of a rated 18 XXX dating site. This may be the place to let loose your dangling man down there. Trust me, Twitter and Facebook are not places for such things.

Rule 2: Child nudity is prohibited

Facebook will censor you for posting pictures of child nudity. It may seem common sense. However, parents or relatives sometimes post innocent pictures of children. It could be a picture of them swimming or bathing.  The thing is – there are too many wackos out there. Do you really want them looking at a nude picture of your child?

Rule 3: Chatting someone up, is a no go – unless you are on a dating site

As with rule number 1, chatting someone up on Twitter or Facebook – are bad manners.  Here’s a hint dudes: It is most likely to freak a woman out. It’s probable you’ll find yourself unfollowed, unfriended and blocked.

Rule 4: Be careful with your compliments

This may seem odd, but men should know that not all women like hearing, “you are beautiful”. This is especially creepy online, where it is hard to judge someone’s intentions. Additionally, some of us find it triggering.


The above four rules are the worst offenses when it comes to bad social media ethics. Two more also need attention:


Rule no 5: Don’t make yourself unemployable

How do you think your boss would feel if he sees you badmouthing him on a public forum? Slamming your boss, your employer, your clients and your other stakeholders is a big fat NO. I don’t care how much you hate them. It will do more damage to your own professional reputation than to them.

Don’t break professional confidentiality. Don’t blab about someone else’s financial situation, if you are dealing with finances. Don’t blab about someone’s health issues if you are in medical profession… Etc.

If you work for a big corporation – which has a trademark brand, posting a picture of you consuming or using a different brand may get you fired.

Telling the wide world that you have for example a drinking problem, may make you unemployable – if someone bothered to do a thorough background check.

Still many other situations deserve mentioning here. Use your common sense.

Rule no 6: Social Media can’t validate your self-worth

People often strive to have prestigious jobs, so they can feel important in life. Since the invention of the social media “like button” (favorite button or whatever it is named in different places), people strive to have numerous likes and responses to their social media posts so that they can feel a sense of self-worth.

When they don’t get the volume of response they were looking for, these people share things that should rather have stayed private. Our lives have become like a mini version of some form of the Kardashians (or whatever reality TV series is currently receiving good ratings). We share details of our life in an effort to shock and entertain our friends into liking and responding. How far are you willing to go to get a like?

There are things in this life that need to remain private. Ultimately, we need to learn how to respect ourselves to avoid this trap. When you do share things online, remember that your (future) enemy/s could possibly use this information against you. This is especially true if there is some kind of legal proceeding taking place.

Ultimately, this form of social validation is a slippery slope. Firstly, do you really think that a huge amount of likes or shares will make you important? Things die down quickly on the internet. Once you have become yesterday’s news, you have to find something else to catch the attention of the masses. In my opinion, this kind of attention is simply not worth all the anxiety it causes. All for some kind of temporary high?

Everybody needs somebody

I do admit, sometimes life can get rough. I belong to a Facebook support group for just that kind of thing.  Sometimes I simply want to let people know what is going on. This is especially true if you belong to an on-line community. (Important safety tip: Don’t put up a public post of you being out of town…)

Additionally, if the “call a friend” option, is one that you don’t like using – chat to a friend privately may be the next best thing. Occasionally, we all need to talk to someone. This may be a better way for us to feel validated or connected than trying to catch the attention of the crowds.


I find the way people use platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to be more of a non-human distraction. A time suck. An energy drain.  Don’t get me wrong they have their place. However, we need to learn to make better use of these platforms. Respect is something we need to apply to every aspect of how we behave.


How about you? What points do you think I missed?


Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.


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9 thoughts on “The 6 essential guidelines on how to act on Social Media

    1. Absolutely, I’m always careful when chatting to people online and even more so when the person is a guy, so that he does not get the wrong idea. However I must confess none of my guy palls has ever mentioned being inappropriately chatted up or complimented online – which is why I took the ladies point of view.
      Perhaps we are more sensitive to it, since we instinctively feel more vulnerable. But yes it is applicable with men too.


  1. All very good advice. Most should seem like common sense, yet oddly many people need to be reminded.
    Clarification on #3 please: The phrase “chatting someone up” is not one we use here in North America, at least not that I’ve heard. What does it mean exactly? Is it simply unsolicited conversation? Or actual flirting?


      1. Thanks. Sorry I don’t know why I still don’t intuitively think to look these things up myself – but I am getting better 🙂 #MiddleAgePeopleProblems


  2. These are great tips. To me they seem to be common sense but from my experiences alone I can see that there’s a great deal of odd-strange-rare sense out there. Well done. 🙂


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