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Be Nice on the Internet

The Guide to Social Media Etiquette

As quickly as the Internet evolves, so does the way we interact online. Here are the new rules for navigating social media with grace.

By Kristin Appenbrink
Woman with laptop in bedMicrosoft


Photos: With digital cameras and smartphones it’s easier than ever to post photos online. Now, the trick is to use restraint. Follow these guidelines to avoid any photo faux pas.


Sharing the photos and stories from your summer vacation with your friends in person has become a thing of the past. Now you can simply upload snapshots of you mugging for the camera in front of the Eiffel Tower or Mount Rushmore to Facebook and let people click through at their leisure. But just because you can share all 746 pictures you took on your long weekend, doesn’t mean you should. Edit down your comprehensive gallery to a more manageable number, and don't forget to put the best shots first, just in case people don't make it all the way through the album.


Tag With Care
Tagging photos of your friends and family with their names is a great way to share your photos, but not everyone wants pictures of themselves in a bathing suit splashed across the Internet. So adopt the policy that the first time you post a photo of someone, don’t tag him, but send an e-mail or message with a link to the photo. Ask if it is okay for you to post the picture and whether he is comfortable with being tagged in the future.


If you are concerned about the photos that your connections post, adjust your privacy settings so that all tagged photos must be approved by you before they are linked to your profile. That way you can control which photos of you are on display to your network.


Put Yourself in Your Friend’s Shoes

As with many things, the golden rule is applicable here—only post photos of others that you would want posted of you. So that long-lost photo of your friends on spring break in Mexico is probably better off staying lost.


Go Ahead and Ask a Friend to Do the Same for You

What if someone posts a photo of you that you don’t want online? It's okay to ask for it to be taken down, says Lizzie Post, coauthor of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th edition ($40, Start by removing your tag to make the photo a bit harder for your other friends to find. Then contact the person who posted the photo and ask that it be removed.

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