This is netiquette on steroids. Delivered to us from on high, these are the 10 Commandments of the internet, of smartphones and Snapchat, and of the digital age.
Coming directly from that fountain of untapped knowledge and social etiquette that is Reddit, with a little bit of our own interpretation and cherry-picking, here are just a few of the most important rules that come with being an adult in the 21st century. There are plenty more that are just as crucial, but these make for a good starting point.
1. Log out of your account after you’re done. This is the cardinal rule for anyone logging into Facebook or Twitter on Instagram on a public computer. If you don’t, you’re opening yourself up to a world of hurt. And, if you sit down at a public computer and find someone else’s private accounts or social media logged in, do to others as you would done to you. Don’t go snooping through their private information and looking through their photos or have a casual chat with their friends. Before you do, though, a small amount of Facebook dickery is acceptable — it’s tough love.
2. If you’re sharing a funny joke or photo within a group, show everyone. There’s nothing more irritating than having two of your friends sniggering privately off to one side, huddled around a phone when you’re trying to have a normal adult conversation. And if you’re at one of those parties that devolves into everyone sharing their favourite YouTube videos with each other, for god’s sake get your techy friend to put it up on the big screen. You also get one chance to find the video you’re looking for, no more.
3. If you’re on a phone call on speaker, tell the person you’re talking to. “Sorry, you’re on speaker now, and I’m with blank”. It’s as simple as that. Not saying something means your phone confidant may share something that they mean for only you, and then you both feel like an idiot afterwards. It’s so easy to avoid. Even if you’re having a private conversation without the speaker, but you’re standing around a bunch of friends, either excuse yourself — and keep your conversation private — or tell them to shut up. Think about how annoying it would be if you were on the other end of the line to listen to a pack of idiots hooting and interrupting you.
4. Keep your music and phone calls to yourself, wherever you are. The above commandment said, there are very few times where you should actually use your phone’s speaker — specifically where you have the consent and interest of everyone involved. At a party where the stereo’s just died? Go for it. Quiet office? Probably not the best place to chat to your bros about the rad weekend you have planned. And don’t be the douchebag that sits up the front of the train carriage and blasts out Chris Brown tracks non-stop at 7AM in the morning. Your personal interests shouldn’t infringe on the freedoms of others.
5. Don’t get annoyed if you don’t get an instantaneous reply to your text. We live in the always-on, always-connected 21st century, but some people do — and everyone should — have lives outside of their smartphones. We work, we travel, we actually spend a little face-to-face time with the people we love. Similarly, don’t be the person that always checks their phone during an otherwise romantic dinner and lets it interrupt the real world. There are worse things than waiting five minutes for someone to message you back about the weekend.
6. If you’re posting a photo online, it’s like a tattoo. Sure, you can eventually remove it, but everyone will remember it. Thinking like that, it would be stupid to upload a photo of yourself off your chops to Instagram or Facebook, right? That’s the kind of thing that just might lose you that dream job you were hunting for. Present an image of yourself and your activities and your life that you wouldn’t be ashamed of your grandmother seeing and talking to you about face-to-face.
7. Things that seem private probably aren’t, so don’t presume. You should know by now that Snapchat is not secure. Direct messages get leaked all the time. Private photos that can be incredibly damaging to people’s reputations are circulated widely through the amplifying power of social media. Someone can copy and paste your private intimate chats with a few keystrokes — so make sure everyone is taking part on the same level. Privacy is an important thing, but you have to realise that it’s a shifting — and, possibly dying — thing as the internet evolves as rapidly as it does. Just realise what you’re getting yourself into, and act accordingly.
8. Practise some social media etiquette. Everywhere. No-one cares that you’re at your grandma’s funeral, no-one cares that you just took a giant dump in the work toilet. You might want to show off and it make it seem like you’re having an amazing life 24/7, but everyone that’s looking through your Facebook vomit knows that you’re just trying a bit too hard. More is less. You want to seem mysterious and alluring, right? James Bond wouldn’t post a selfie while he was in a meeting with the MI6 bigwigs.
9. It’s really simple, don’t be a dick online. The online world should be functionally no different to the real one. Day-to-day interaction on the ‘net, where you’re talking to people that you’re both familiar with and that you don’t know too well, should be cordial but not over-familiar, and above all else you shouldn’t be rude. You can be tracked down, too, if you were wondering. If you know the answer to a question, tell them and don’t be the righteous knob that links to LMGTFY.
10. Don’t spread stupid rumours and misinformation and chain mail. A lie makes its way halfway round the world before the truth gets its pants on. If you stumble on some particularly juicy or controversial piece of information, maybe take a few minutes to check your sources and question who stands to benefit from this fact being amplified and shared. And that righteous email you got from your aunt, forwarded through about a thousand different email addresses before it lands on your doorstep? Learn to love Snopes.com. And for the last time, yes, we landed on the Moon.
Do you have any others that deserve a special mention? Let us know in the comments below. [Reddit]