Has this ever happened to you? You post photos of a trip you just took and your friend starts commenting about her vacation while dropping 10 photos of her own. Boom! Your thunder is stolen. Admittedly, I’ve been a thunder-stealer. I’ve gotten so excited that I turned the spotlight right onto me—an online etiquette no-no.
Do you make it about you?
This really is the essence of thunder-stealing. We are trying to connect through a shared experience but we’re actually dimming the spotlight that’s on a friend. Next time you see someone post about her experience—whether it’s a vacation, an award she got at work, or a proud mom moment—just let her shine. It’s OK to say that you’ve done it too, but hold back from one-upping.
Do you humblebrag?
Maybe we don’t straight-up brag, but we humblebrag, or backdoor brag: “How’s my son supposed to choose a college when he keeps getting mail from so many schools?!” If we want to share what’s happening in our lives, that’s fine, but if our underlying motive is to brag, we need to rethink before we post. It never hurts to pause before you post to examine your motives.
Do you play the #blessed card?
Yes, it’s great to be thankful, but consider retiring #blessed. It isn’t bad to share the good things that happen to us, but we must avoid insinuating that good things happen to us because God loves us more than someone else. If you’re going to post about your blessings, make it about the one you’re thanking.
Do you miss calls for help?
We need to treat online etiquette the same as real-life etiquette and consider how our words and actions will affect others. We have to remember that behind the smiles, photos, and quotes, there is a real person. If we keep that mindset, we will look at our posts and our friends’ posts differently. It may look like all is great in their world, but are there signs that things aren’t as they seem? In focusing on ourselves, we may miss calls for help from others.
Do you value making a point over preserving a relationship?
My best friend and I hold opposite views on politics. Sure, I could argue with her online about her beliefs, but at what cost? Before social media, we didn’t really know our friends’ views on politics and other volatile subjects. But, now, it’s all out there. I’d rather keep my friendships than try to convince others that I’m right.
What are your online etiquette challenges?