by Ginger Marin

Social networking websites introduce people to new friends thus expanding their circles of online pals and even business acquaintances. But they are also introducing people to a number of important etiquette issues. Some people haven’t figured out yet how to be polite in this situation, though truthfully, some people still don’t have a clue about telephone, email or cell phone etiquette either.

In any case, if you want to elevate your Internet social graces on social networking websites, here are a few tips.

1. No Insults: If you’re ever in the mood to badmouth someone, zip it, instead! Humiliating someone on open forums such as social networking websites is not very cool; it’s actually pretty immature and will only serve to make you look silly. If someone tries to bully you into engaging in an online spitting match, your best bet is to just ignore them.

2. Moderate Communications: Don’t over do it when it comes to communicating with your network. People who constantly send announcements (including surveys, quizzes and junk mail) are simply abusing their friendships. Send bulletins only when and if you have big news to share. It can be downright annoying to be on the receiver end of nonstop emails.

3. No Chain Letters: Never use your social networking website to send out chain letters in the form of email blasts. You’ve seen the ones that say “Send this along to 10 friends or you will have bad luck for the rest of your life.” If you do get one yourself, just delete it. No one has time for this nonsense.

4. Keep Your Profile Simple: Make sure your profile is easy to read and navigate. Don’t overload your profile with large pictures that take forever to download. Some social networking websites will offer photo galleries that will reduce your pictures to thumbnails that can then be easily enlarged by an interested visitor. This is certainly preferable.

5. Keep Your Profile Clean: You never know who’s checking out your profile, so ideally, it’s better to avoid making people feel uncomfortable with an R-Rated site unless, of course, that’s what you really want and you know that your friends are okay with it.

6. Take Care With Friend Invitations: Don’t put people in an awkward position who don’t really want to add you. Be choosy about the people you add on. You may not want coworkers, for example, reading your personal info. Also, don’t confront someone who doesn’t want to be your friend. That is bad form.

7. Promotion Awareness: Lots of people use social networking websites to promote artists, products, services and even other websites. If you’re using your profile to promote something, be subtle in how you do it, because there’s a fine line between innocent promotion and spam.

Author Ginger Marin is an actor, freelance writer and storyteller.  You can also find her on Google+

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