The 29 Most Common Social Media Rules: Which Ones Are Real? Which Ones Are Breakable?

social media rules

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How did you end up learning the unwritten rules for social media etiquette?

For me, it was a lot of watching and waiting, a bit of experimenting, and tons of trial and error. When I first started out on social media, I had just the most basic rules and intuitions. Even now, I feel like I learn a new quirk or quibble on a near-daily basis.

It’s hard to know which rules exist, which ones are real, and which ones are okay to break or follow.

I’d love to help shed some light here so that you can go forth and share confidently.

The 29 most common social media rules

After digging into a bunch of research from thought leaders and influencers, I found there seemed to be a set of social media rules that most could agree on. Here’s the list of 29 social media rules most commonly mentioned by the pros.

Why Every High School Should Teach A Social Media Class

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It’s time to teach social media to high school students.

While some adults who don’t understand social media — ironically because they were never taught it —still dismiss it as a novelty or distraction, the reality is social media has become a force of incredible power, change, and business.

It’s changed our world and its importance is only growing.

So much so that I can’t think of anything more important to teach our next generation of leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and working class citizens than how to create and interpret social media.

If the job of our education system is to prepare students to succeed in the “real world,” then teaching them social media skills should be a prerequisite.

While most teenagers already use social media, I doubt many understand the intricacies of how social media works.

My social media fast

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Last week (approx. May 7-14), I stopped using social media for an entire week… Many people have given up social media and written about it — the digital equivalent of the “Why I’m Leaving New York” essay — but since I didn’t write about leaving New York, I’m going to do this instead.

I used to be very good about using my phone and social media appropriately. More than a decade of working on kottke.org taught me how to not be online when I wasn’t working (for the most part). I tried super hard not to use my phone at all around my kids and if I was out with friends, my phone stayed in my pocket.

Almost a year ago, after 13+ years in the city, I moved from lower Manhattan to rural Vermont… Social media, mostly through my phone, has been an important way for me to stay connected with friends and goings on in the wider world. But lately I’d noticed an obsessiveness, an addiction really, that I didn’t like once I became fully aware of it.

 

…Not a single person noticed that I had stopped using social media. (Not enough to tell me anyway.) Perhaps if it had been two weeks? For me, this reinforced that social media is actually not a good way to “stay connected with friends”. Social media aggregates interactions between loved ones so that you get industrialized communication rather than personal connection. No one really notices if a particular person goes missing because they’re just one interchangeable node in a network.

 

 

Generation X More Addicted to Social Media Than Millennials, Report Finds

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We all know the stereotype: silly millennials, tethered to their phones, unable to accomplish the simplest tasks without scrolling their Instagram feeds, snapping their friends and/or tweeting inanely.

But a Nielsen report released last week shows that Americans from 18 to 34 are less obsessed with social media than some of their older peers are.

Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group. More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on the networks: an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week.

 

Lonely and envious in real life? You’ll feel the same on Facebook

A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page and sending messages to her friends, UK<br>FDB0JA A 17 year old teenage girl on her Apple laptop computer in her bedroom at night, checking her Facebook page

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It turns out that staying away from Facebook for a bit could be good for you. Known by anyone who is actually honest with themselves, that piece of obviousness is now backed up by academics: experts – boo, hiss! – from the University of Copenhagen. The publication of The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Wellbeing makes it scientific fact now: social media sucks for you.

But you knew that. Facebook is, and always has been at heart, a party made up of people you don’t really like who all have better lives than you, and you’re the prat who walked through the door to hear about it. Everyone else’s holidays are more exciting than yours, their relationships happier, and their jobs way more impressive than the crap you’re dragging yourself through every day to scrape enough money together for Super Noodles. Because you can’t really cook, either. They can all cook.

 

Selfies, Snapchat and sassy ladies: a teen’s guide to social media

Lucia Hagan

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Facebook is over

There are only two types of social media anyone my age uses: Snapchat and Instagram. Snapchat is for giving everyone a constant insight into your life, without it being as annoying as posting loads of videos and photos on to Instagram (Snapchat posts disappear). Instagram is basically the same thing, except your uploads are more spaced out. The only people I know who use Facebook are my parents; mostly it’s a place where people dump their non-Instagram-worthy pictures every couple of months.

I use YouTube quite a lot, usually to watch makeup tutorials, but I always end up clicking through different videos until I end up on a weird conspiracy theory (usually Shane Dawson’s web series, where he covered the killer clowns). That’s when I know it’s time to stop.

Donald Trump, the First President of Our Post-Literate Age

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But all this focus on fake Facebook news obscures a much bigger story about the way social media — the endless public opining and sharing of information — is reshaping politics. Even if you’ve never given much thought to its meaning, you’ve probably heard someone say “the medium is the message,” the famous dictum of media theorist Marshall McLuhan.

But what does that mean, and what does it mean specifically for the 2016 election? A possible answer can be found in the work of Walter J. Ong, a Jesuit priest and a former student of McLuhan’s at St. Louis University. In his most famous work, “Orality and Literacy,” Ong examined how the invention of reading and writing fundamentally changed human consciousness. He argued that the written word wasn’t just an extension of the spoken word, but something that opened up new ways of thinking — something that created a whole new world.

The easiest way to grasp the difference between the written world and the oral world is that in the latter, there’s no way to look up anything. Before the invention of writing, knowledge existed in the present tense between two or more people; when information was forgotten, it disappeared forever. That state of affairs created a special need for ideas that were easily memorized and repeatable (so, in a way, they could go viral). The immediacy of the oral world did not favor complicated, abstract ideas that need to be thought through. Instead, it elevated individuals who passed along memorable stories, wisdom and good news.

And here we begin to see how the age of social media resembles the pre-literate, oral world. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other platforms are fostering an emerging linguistic economy that places a high premium on ideas that are pithy, clear, memorable and repeatable (that is to say, viral). Complicated, nuanced thoughts that require context don’t play very well on most social platforms, but a resonant hashtag can have extraordinary influence. Evan Spiegel, the chief executive officer of Snap Inc., grasped the new oral dynamics of social media when he told the Wall Street Journal: “People wonder why their daughter is taking 10,000 photos a day. What they don’t realize is that she isn’t preserving images. She’s talking.”