Hello readers, we hope you enjoy our September blog post! We’re sharing ten fab dos and don’ts this month to help get you started on social media and make you aware of some of the ground rules if you’re new to platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Read on to discover how to connect with people on social in a polite and safe way…

 

Butterfly on flowers

Become a social media butterfly with our handy tips and hints!

Don’t use poor grammar or spelling.

Do read all your posts carefully before sending them to check for accuracy and to catch any grammar and spelling mistakes.

 

Do be careful what content you share.

Don’t post or share content that is controversial, rude, questionable or distressing. It can reflect badly on you and may alienate the people you’re trying to connect with.

 

Don’t post when you’re in a bad mood, or write rants or passive-aggressive posts. Washing your dirty laundry in public is never a good idea!

Do phone a friend if you’re feeling fed up and need someone to talk to. If you need a listening ear, the phone line for The Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is completely free.

 

Do have a completed social media profile with a description and/or bio. Mention subjects that are of interest to you and that you want to talk about.  Don’t forget to add a photo!

Don’t leave your social media profile empty and neglect to add a photo: it’s not very enticing for people who might want to connect with you and makes it look like you aren’t prepared to make an effort to present yourself well to the online world.

 

Don’t over-share your personal details: including information such as your home address, telephone number or any other details that might allow a stranger online to find or contact you offline.

Do remember that people you meet online may not necessarily be who they say they are, and always be cautious when sharing personal information. If you arrange to meet an online friend in real life, always meet in a public space and make sure you tell someone where you’re going, who you’re meeting and how long you expect to be gone for.

 

Do behave as well online as you would in real life. Remember that although you may be interacting with a screen, at the other end of that screen is… another person!  Use the same politeness rules you would employ in a face-to-face interaction; be courteous and inclusive in your conversations.

Don’t be rude, unkind or exclude people in your interactions online.

 

Don’t send lots of requests to your friends to play online games, they can become annoying and intrusive.

Do think before you hit a link to invite or share your game with your online connections: would I want to receive invites like this?

 

Do thank people for ‘likes’, mentions, retweets and so on. It’s just good manners, and will make you feel good too!

Don’t expect other people to like or share your content ‘just because’. If your posts aren’t getting the reaction that you want, try to think of ways to make them more engaging and to reach the people you want to connect with.

 

People on a street looking at mobile phones

Being active on social media can be a good way to stay connected to friends and family. You can use it to make new connections, too!

Don’t ‘lurk’; i.e. spend your time passively reading other people’s posts and never engaging with the online dialogue.

Do join the conversation! Chat to new people, engage, be active, reinforce existing friendships and build new ones.

 

Do use hashtags when appropriate: they enable new people to discover your posts and may lead to you making unexpected and enjoyable connections with people interested in the same topics as you.

Don’t use too many hashtags in one post (1-3 is fine), or use them out of context. If you’re using an existing hashtag to join a conversation, ensure that you understand what the hashtag means before using it.

 

And one final word of advice…

Always remember that even if your privacy settings are very restrictive, images and words published on social media can very easily be made public (and occasionally with disastrous consequences). The golden rule is that if you wouldn’t want your family, friends, neighbours or employer to see it… do not share it online!

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and found them useful. If you’re over 16 years, eligible to live and work in the UK and currently not in employment, the Moneywise Plus project may be able to help you. We offer support and training to improve your digital skills, including using a computer, using the internet, setting up and using email, mobile phones, tablets and more. We can help you move towards employment, job search, further education or training. Find out more and discover if you’re eligible for our service on our website, or call us on 0300 003 7004.