Should There Be Etiquette in Social Media?

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Social media has, no doubt, brought about a great deal of benefits for consumers and businesses. At the same time, however, it has had some harmful effects on others. To be clear, the blunders that have occurred through social media should be credited to the user and not the platform; but the fact remains that if the user had exercised proper etiquette, the harmful effect may not have happened.

Should social media users exercise etiquette or not? What do you think?

According to Pamela Eyring, who is the President and Director of The Protocol School of Washington, users who are not mindful of etiquette on social networks may quickly run into the negative effects of social media.

"It's a great way to advertise and market and build networks of people... but we also have to be careful of pitfalls," she said.

With social media, information - both good and bad - gets distributed very quickly. For example, think about how fast word got out about former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Some would still argue that social networks would lose their effectiveness if everyone demonstrated restraint. After all, one of the driving forces behind the popularity of social media has been that it has given an equal voice to everyone.

As Eyring explained to us, there should be a balance. She believes that everyone with an opinion has the right to express it, but that they should consider etiquette when they post.

"I think there are times when you need to state your opinion clearly... but I think also that it doesn't need to be nasty," she said. "You can showcase your disapproval and even anger without being nasty."

She believes that etiquette is especially important since the line between personal and professional is continuing to be blurred. Many users are getting laidback about what they post, and for professionals, this could be damaging.

"Those professionals who want to take their careers to the next step need to be cautious," said Eyring.

The Golden Rule that she follows and recommends for others is to think before you post. It's simple, but those few seconds could save you from having something negative permanently branded to your name.

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