Millennials, defined as individuals born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, have grown up with social media. Being on the early end of the generation, I remember getting my first MySpace account when I was in middle school, my Facebook account in high school, followed by my Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. For people in this generation, social media is innate; something that we grew up with instead of something we need to become accustom to.
However, given the familiarity of the tools, millennials often forget common etiquette, or frankly, common sense, when it comes to social media sharing. How much is too much when it comes to sharing? What information should you delete from your social media track record? Is it okay to decline an invite? Here are five social etiquette tips you don’t want to forget when it comes to social media.
If you have to ask, don’t share.
Many millennials feel more comfortable sharing information on their social media channels than they do with their own family and close friends. By eliminating face-to-face contact, many social media users also forget the common sense sharing standards that come with sharing too much information (TMI). General rule of thumb: if you have to ask yourself whether something is appropriate to share, then it probable is not appropriate. Regardless of what you think, no one wants to know when you got your period, what your cat’s vomit looked like or what you and your boyfriend “did” on your date last night. Some things are better left unsaid.
Social media channels are a great place to share news with your family and friends. I often use my channel to share picture updates of my daughter with my family out of town, or to share updates on our family with friends who I may not always keep in touch with. However, it’s important that you keep your sharing in check. Nobody likes the friend who posts multiple dialogues on their devoted love for their significant other or a play-by-play update on every move their new baby makes. Yes, we are thrilled for your successes, but no need to rub it in our faces.
Don’t throw a pity party.
Similar to bragging, no one wants to hear you constant lamentations about your life. It’s one thing to post something like, “Wish us luck as we sell our home.” It’s another to post fifteen updates on why your house isn’t selling, how much you hate having to show your house every day and why the last offer fell through. We have problems of our own, and don’t need a continuous stream of updates on yours.
Keep it professional.
Depending on where you land in the millennial age range, you may already be out of college and in the job market. If you’re still in college, you one day will be in the job market and don’t want your social media past to haunt you. Helpful tip: remove any pictures that involve alcohol, excessive partying, or anything else you wouldn’t feel comfortable explaining to your grandma. Not sure why this is necessary? Do yourself a favor and Google search yourself. You’d be shocked to see what pops through the “privacy” settings on social media.
Do unto others as you want done unto you.
Millienials often ask whether it’s appropriate to decline a friend or follow request. I usually go with the rule, if I know who they are and what their motives are for following me, then you are okay to be approved. After all, if you follow the above rules, there really shouldn’t be anything on your social media pages that you wouldn’t want your acquaintances to see. Furthermore, you never know when a social media connection could benefit you in the future. Your old high school friend who you haven’t talked to in years may be your next link to a new job, nanny lead or gym membership recommendation. Regardless of their reasoning, it never can hurt to have too many friends!