Mind Your (Online) Manners


We were discussing etiquette for different social communities the other day. @SarahHutton was saying how it’s kind of weird & creepy on Facebook to receive a friend request from someone you don’t know, but on Twitter, it’s like, oooh! New follower! Cool!

And then I thought of unspoken rules on other communities. Being the semi-obsessive sports fan that I am, I am active on a number of sports team message boards. The unspoken rule in these communities is to be respectful when you go on other teams’ sites. Good-natured trash talk is okay. Taunting, gloating & being a general jerk makes you a troll & reflects poorly on the rest of your team’s fanbase. And you never, ever go on another team’s board to gloat after they get knocked out of the playoffs. If you must go on their board, correspond as sympathetically & unobtrusively as possible. The general tone you should take is as if the people on that board just lost a close family member or pet. I’m not even kidding about this, Anaheim Ducks fans.

Are there unspoken rules for your online communities?

-Amy Yen


4 Responses to “Mind Your (Online) Manners”

  1. 1 Sarah Hutton

    I was recently on LinkedIn and noticed that they are trying to encourage users to follow their “manners”. When I went to connect with a classmate, this came up on the screen below the text box:
    Important: Invitations should only be sent to classmates you know personally who will welcome your message. LinkedIn values our users’ privacy and responds to complaints about unwelcome invitations. If you have questions about LinkedIn’s policies, please read our User Agreement.

    Basically, LinkedIn says “don’t friend people who don’t like you or won’t want to be your friend.” “If you didn’t get along in college, you won’t get along here either.” LinkedIn–just be explicit!

  2. 2 Allison

    I’ve actually gone back and forth between privatizing my Twitter feed and leaving it open. I know that I get followed more often when I have my feed open, but half the time I have no idea why this person is following me. I suspect some people are just habitual followers – you might notice someone is following 15,000 people, but only has 200 followers. That’s kind of weird, no? Of course, I don’t typically say anything that isn’t already public knowledge, so I don’t feel like I’m putting myself at risk for anything (unlike my very personal information on my Facebook profile but that’s a whole different story…). I suppose I like the idea of knowing exactly why people are following me, but I suppose I should be glad people find me interesting enough as it is. Probably shouldn’t complain about growing popularity!

  3. 3 Will

    I know we joked around before on the obligatory “Thanks for the Add!” comment on MySpace, which seems to have spiraled downward as spamming apps have quickly taken over the site. Robots clearly have no manners.

  4. Wow, if Facebook is only a place for people who know one another — where’s the growth and personal advancement?

    There are so many great people out there to say hello to! For instance, there are music fan groups, professional groups for people to network in. Maybe the stranger is a member of your group trying to connect. Sounds to me like we still a little stigma in general of the online world.

    If a certain Diana Prince ever says she wants to be your friend, please say hello. :)

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