Social Networking Etiquette Hits Rock Bottom!

Picture this!

You are at a social gathering at a friend’s place – people are dressed for an occasion, large platters of delicate finger food are being passed around, a very nice groove is playing on the sound system and there are lots of interesting people to look at and meet.

Your hostess introduces you to a small group of people you have been itching to get to know all evening (just because they look interesting to you) and now, you have the opportunity to initiate conversation and find out more about them.

Social Media EtiquetteWhat would your conversation be about?

Well if it was me, I may begin by extending a compliment, or perhaps I would share something of interest that happened to me recently that I think might be entertaining, or I may mention how the hosts have a knack for throwing a really great party…

…or some other social banter.

And I would certainly ask them about themselves in an attempt to know more about these interesting people that caught my eye…

But I would never, never, never, thrust my business card at them, criticise them or make a comment that would offend or upset them, delve into their personal lives or ask a whole lot of boring questions that would certainly make them want to leave our conversation and move on somewhere else.

My intention here (remember I find these people interesting and want to get to know them) is to befriend them, have some light conversation and see if we have anything in common.

Isn’t that the way friendships start?

It may be news to you, but this is exactly the same way you want to approach anyone in your social networking circles.

After all, don’t you want to present yourself in your best possible light – friendly, warm, entertaining and gracious?

Attributes that will make others want to engage with you and together offer small insights as to the kind of people you are and see what each other has to offer? Remember, the objective here is to engage in conversation (not dominate) in the hope they will come back for more.

I am continually amazed by some of the conversations I see on the various social media platforms, particularly on Twitter.

Some tweeters have no idea about social media etiquette and are openly rude and bitchy to people they don’t even know (don’t they realise that everyone else can see these conversations?)

One particular instance I saw recently demonstrates a classic example of this: an approach was made to a well-known industry leader who we will call Simon by one of his followers who we will name Harry for some advice.

Simon replied promptly and in a courteous and very helpful manner giving Harry an answer to the information he has requested (information I thought would have been worth a private consultation.)

Nevertheless, what happened next was a tirade of negative comments from Harry slagging off Simon’s social media efforts and giving unwanted advice on what he should do about them!  This outburst came after Simon had been so kind in assisting with his expertise.

Harry’s comments were very negative and bordering on offensive – but the strange thing is I don’t think the intention was to offend.

It seems to me he was trying to give advice from his perspective as a social media manager:  he really should know better!

I think in a weird sort of way it was a pitch for business. But it came across as a rude display of hubris proving he was anything but an authority in the social media marketing world!

Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want this Social Media Manager anywhere near any of my social media platforms (or my party for that matter).

How awful would he be to my guests, embarrassing them with his nasty comments and ugly rhetoric?

If you want to see the perfect example of how to self-destruct ‘big time’ in the social media world just take a look at this major faux pas….it has to be the best self-sabotage around. 

Unbelievable – right?

This guy has definitely got more to worry about now than his wife and newborn…

His business under this identify is truly over (imagine having this dude at your party)…

Note to self: Remember social media etiquette rules at all times!

Every time you make a comment/tweet/post or say anything on any of your social networking platforms, it’s there for good and unless you make it a private conversation everyone is privy to it.

Every time you utter or mention anything it’s best to remember you are representing your brand or your company’s brand and it’s there forever, it doesn’t go away.  And we all know once the online word has been spoken, there’s no going back.

We have all got different opinions and we are entitled to present them, but in a manner that’s pleasing and agreeable. We will never agree with each other all of the time – that’s healthy,  what’s not healthy is a lack of respect and understanding for someone else’s viewpoint.

It is important to show some maturity and respect for others, whether it be mindful of their culture, language or personality and if you don’t agree with something that is being said, it might be a good to remember this simple maxim:

“Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”?

Leave the ‘nasties’ to the Internet Trolls – the miscreants with nothing better to do than trawl the internet in the pursuit of misery posting inflammatory comments to incite and upset others.

Have you come across these social networking etiquette manglers in your social media travels?

Would love to hear about them in the comments.

About Midge Hand
Midge is a co-founder of High Profile Enterprises and loves social media management and building powerful online brands for businesses of all sizes. Midge has a penchant for keyword research, especially uncovering those hard to find gold nuggets! When Midge is offline, you will find her experimenting with new recipes, in the garden, or watching a great film while relaxing with a good French red! Follow Midge On Twitter Here


  1. Hi Midge,

    Treat online like offline.

    Most would never ever dream of shoving a biz card in someone’s face at a party, unless they like getting decked. Why do it online? Of course, the ease of use, and the avoidance of getting decked.

    If you are desperate, you spam like this. If you have posture, you get to know someone, make a connection, and find your attractive personality draws in like-minded folks who want to learn more.

    Attract. Or repel. All based on how you treat others throughout the course of the day.

    If you give freely and remove agendas, and become friends with people, you become dang popular and your business grows. Simple formula. Keep giving freely, keep connecting. Good things happen.

    Thanks for sharing Midge!


    • Hi Ryan,

      We share the same philosophy about like attracts like and the law of cause and effect.
      I agree with you: the simple formula about giving freely without agenda is the basic law of attraction marketing in its true form.
      Many thanks for stopping by and taking the time to make a comment.

  2. Well, expressing an opinion must not be hindranced by anyone. We just have to think it twice before exposing it to the crowd.

    • Hello James,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, I agree all opinions are to be voiced, it’s the way in which we do it that ‘s important.
      Always good to stop and think before blasting off a comment that could offend someone.


  3. Excellent thoughts, Midge. The Internet has spawned a new generation of “in your face” relationships.

    Call me old fashioned, but I like your way better!


  4. Hey Midge,

    I have also noticed people go mad online sometimes. The strange thing is that some of these people would behave totally different in a face-to-face encounter. But hidden behind a screen, they somehow just lose their common sense…


    • Hi Michael,

      Yes it’s quite strange how people do that – they seem to take on a different personna behind a text message or online communications.
      It seems to give them different sorts of rights or bravery if they can do it under a pseudonym or alias!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  5. Hi. Thanks for the share. Personally I love to do social networking. Its a nice way to share ideas, techniques and knowledge. its also useful for business branding.

    • Hello Christine,

      Glad you enjoyed my post – thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Social networking is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for your business if it is used correctly.
      Sharing information and helping others is the way to go.


  6. Another excelent post, Midge. Though not at parties, I often often get cards thrust at me during seminars and networking events – no conversation just, “Hey if you need such and such give me a call.” My response is usually to bin the card.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comments – it never ceases to amaze me that people still do this! I wonder if they generally lack personality or they just don’t think about how other people see them.
      Either way they’re plain boring and agree they belong in the bin.

      All the best

  7. Thanks for posting this Midge.
    Sometimes, social etiquette seems to really have hit rock bottom. It’s almost disturbing. No, it really is disturbing. Some people just don’t notice when they are being rude! It’s appalling! It’s like just because they can hide behind their computer screens, they can insult people. Some good advice that I’ve come across is to “Kill ’em with Kindness”. If you are the better person and don’t retaliate, then what more can they say? Ok, well, I’ve shared my little rant, so thanks again for posting this 🙂

    • Hi Elena,

      Thanks for your little rant – which I agree with wholeheartedly. It takes a better person to demonstrate kindness in the form of non-retaliation as you say. Why let someone’s rudeness mess with your day.

  8. Social networking sites are such a different platform than face-to-face conversation that it is easy to forget this. We have, for some reason, assigned internet commenting the job of being strictly critical. As you said, what you say is permanent. Future clients could see what you said in anger; causing you to lose all credibility.

    • Hi Steven,

      Thanks for taking the time to read this post and make a comment. Yes, always best to take a breath, take 10 minutes and then reply with reasoned thinking.

  9. Hi Midge,

    Sanjib here. I am just amazed to know there is someone around who cares about social etiquette. I am amazed because most of the people out there have slipped to rock bottom without their knowledge.That is, they are not aware that they do not follow social etiquette. We all know who is to blame her. I do not want to trigger a controversy here. Like Midge has pointed this, it is time we wake up before becoming dinosaurs.

    Thanks Midge,


  10. When I was 14, I used to troll people on the internet for fun. I eventually stopped doing it when I grew out of it. The sad thing is: Many people never stop pi$$ing off others online. They think they’re anonymous, untouchable and can just go off. As some poster above me said: They would behave totally different in a face to face situation.

    • Good to see you have grown up! Trolls are a timewaster and a nuisance in peoples’ busy lives.
      It’s a much better concept to offer value and guidance to someone rather than annoy and insult.


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