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Eight golden rules of social networking… by Guardian

1) Don’t be a Twitter chugger
Refrain from sending out endless identical tweets @ing people you haven’t even bothered to follow, urging them sign your petition/donate to your pet good cause/retweet your latest uttering. I don’t care how good the cause is, it’s the Twitter equivalent of chugging.

2) Don’t overshare
Most of the world does not care about your cat’s latest slaughtered fluffy toy mouse or your baby’s enchanting gurgle.

3) Remember who your friends are – and aren’t
Is that person you’re about to send a Facebook friend request to really your friend? Or is it your boss, or a work colleague? Would you hang out in the pub with them? It’s awkward getting a request from someone you work with but don’t like. And while we’re on the subject, don’t whine or wheedle at someone on Twitter to follow you.

4) Be careful with tagging and posting pictures
You might think that picture of your best mate vomiting into a pint glass is hilarious and very much in keeping with his personality. However, his boss might take a dim view. If you want to keep your friends – and help them keep their jobs – keep those dodgy pictures well away from the internet.

5) Cringe making updates
Don’t spread witless drivel. I can’t put it any better than another friend of mine, who says of those horrendous cut-and-paste status updates that litter Facebook: ” ‘If you are a mother/support our troops/like cute kittens then post this otherwise you’re a heartless bastard’ or ‘Here is a thinly veiled ignorant xenophobic comment, post it, 99% of other people won’t have the guts’. Oh sod off.”

6) Passive-aggressive updates
Having a row with someone? For God’s sake, keep it off the internet. Your friends will roll their eyes if you post crap such as: “Lucie-Ann is amazed at the nerve of some people.” And if you’re Lucie-Ann’s mate, don’t indulge her with comments like “What’s up hun?”, as it just prolongs the agony when she replies: “I’ll message you, don’t want to say on here xxx.” If the target of Lucie-Ann’s ire isn’t already well aware of what she has done, she is now. And nobody else cares.

7) Keep on top of your inbox
Reply to your @s on Twitter. It’s polite. And anyway, isn’t the whole point of social networking to, well, talk to people? Endless unanswered @s and Facebook messages just make you look rude.

8 ) Be appropriate
Please don’t tweet me – or indeed anyone over the age of about 15 – using the barely comprehensible quasi-words of textspeak. It is possible to be articulate and even witty in a 140-character tweet.


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