social media

The Social Etiquette of Social Networking & Technology

Facebook? Check. Twitter? Check? BBM? Check. E-Mail? Check. Text? Who doesn’t have the ability to text nowadays? Phone? Che…Oh god, don’t phone though…

Facebook? Check. Twitter? Check? BBM? Check. E-Mail? Check. Text? Who doesn’t have the ability to text nowadays? Phone? Che…Oh god, don’t phone though…

Who needs to have a conversation (let alone face to face anymore) when you can poke someone, ping them, @mention them or retweet them. The possibilities are endless – but are the people fading away?

Think about your friendships. How often do you see these people? Every day? Even so – how do you find out most of your information about them? More commonly I am finding my human, interactive, person to person conversations cut short by ‘yeah I know, saw it on facebook/twitter/othergenericsocialnetworksite’.

Before I even have a conversation, or tell a human being how I feel nowadays however, I update about 4 different status’ to let the social networking world know first. If they’re my real friends then they’ll see it there. I am a social junkie. I’m not proud, but it’s true. A fellow friend (on all media platforms might I add) pointed put how strange of a concept it is that someone can say ‘I wrote on your wall’ – and we automatically accept and acknowledge what this means and not in it’s literal form either.

iphones, ipads, BlackBerrys etc clearly do not help this need for a consistant technological feed to our systems. One of my best university friends and I both slipped into a mild state of unconsciousness and depression just over a week ago when both of our BlackBerry‘s caught the ‘white screen plague’. I joke, but we genuinely were lost, almost in some form of purgatory. Standing in the Tesco express queue with multiple bars of chocolate, hoodies on, lacking make up and with the need for a hairbrush, anyone would think we’d been double-dumped. It was a very, very sad day indeed and although I realise how awful this sounds, I cannot change my ways – I AM HOOKED.

The idea of being ‘double-dumped’ leads me onto dating, or even merely friendship via social networking. (Note: No matter how technology has progressed into our social lives, dumping someone via any media form is still harsh…and cowardly.) But what is the generic social etiquette behind these bleeps and buzzes? It makes things so much more confusing if you truly read into it and I begin to lose track of what I use to contact whom – I mean, you wouldn’t tweet your Grandad surely and phoning a perspective boy/girlfriend after just meeting is becoming increasingly daunting for society. (Please also note : Just because we are using technology to converse, there is no need to be illerate or idiotic. TTYL, 4Q, LVYABBZ are all highly over-rated and should be left to pre-teens on bebo. Fact.)

So anyway, here I have devised my own personal levels of communication. From casual chat to committed correlation (1-10)

1 – RT : twitter re-tweet, for this it is acceptable to not even know the person.

2 – @mention : twitter, again – but let’s make sure we at least know of the person in question.

3 – Facebook like : must be friends for this, otherwise weird – and up your security settings!

4 – Facebook comment : other people will take slight note of this, so a ‘real life’ friendship is definitely implied.

5 – BBM (BlackBerry messenger) : it’s direct, so you should have met, although the PINS are often FB displayed.

6 – Text : exchanging of numbers happened here – if it didn’t, you have a problem, lock your doors.

7 – Facebook or Twitter private message : this stage is debatable, but to me I woud rather receive a casual text or BBM than a private inbox. Inbox icons make me panic slightly, despite that there is no need to even have the person as a friend if on FB.

8 – E-mail, personal address : we are stepping into more formal communication here.

9 – Phonecall : eeeek, you have to talk and not type/text!

10 – Hand-written letter, snail mail etc. : very formal. Also kind of non existant anymore, although probably underestimated.

I’m sure everyone’s scale differs slightly at the lower end. But if we’re talking acquaintance wise, and you’ve only met someone the once – the last thing you expect is a hand-written, perfume sprayed note right? Major stalker territory. So, drop me a casual tweet, a cheeky BBM or a light hearted e-mail – feel free – but lets make sure we all know our boundaries, yeah?

Oh, and just a note – facebook poking is weird and uneccessary, especially if you don’t know the person. Is it an innuendo? Isn’t it? Who cares? Just don’t do it. It’s also very annoying, especially on a smartphone.