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Rules of Engagement: Regular Etiquette & Social Media Etiquette Really Shouldn’t Differ

Rules of Engagement: Regular Etiquette & Social Media Etiquette Really Shouldn’t Differ

Cell Phone on the Right or Left of Plate in Formal Place Setting

Updated: February 4, 2015 below*

November 14, 2014

Regular etiquette really shouldn’t differ all that much from social media etiquette but the little things we overlook when dealing with someone in person are greatly exaggerated when dealing with them online.  We usually can control how often we see someone live and someone you may not see live often could come across you’re social media feeds 20-30 times a day.  So if you’re not especially fond of someone when they’re in front of you multiply that feeling times 30 for their social media presence.

Here are a few tips to evaluate and gauge your etiquette and if you’re working towards personal growth it’s a good list to evaluate honestly as it pertains to your personal and professional social media presence:

Bragging & Self-Quoting

We all know people who have a tough time not talking about themselves or those who have the ability to manipulate a topic (regardless of what it is) back to them and their own preconceived agenda as it relates to a conversation.  There’s a huge difference of relaying a personal story if it relates to the topic and gives context opposed to inserting a personal story for the sake of talking about oneself.

These are the people that talk “at” you and not “with” you. Are we all guilty of that from time to time? Sure, but it’s another thing if 80% or more of the time a conversation with someone ends up this way.


Source for image: Man Overboard

For three years I worked with a qualified, licensed behavioral psychologist because I wanted to make positive changes in my life.  Through this work I’ve become more self-aware of when I’m engaging in this unflattering and annoying behavior and now check my previously often unchecked behavior.  Am I perfect? No, nor will I ever be but the goal was to become better than I was before starting therapy.  Are there days I should wear a shock collar as a reminder-absolutely-but are there days where it’s better than before therapy? Absolutely.

I’ve also worked to remove those people who have no desire to check their unchecked bad behavior from my life both personally and professionally. Sadly, we cannot remove all such people permanently (possible examples: related by blood, marriage, have to work with/for them, etc.) but again one of the goals of this page is show patterns of negative behavior and force accountability while trying to create positive change.

Real Etiquette: Bragging  

If people have to brag about themselves then they probably haven’t done anything worthy of others bragging about them. Harsh? Yes, but it doesn’t make it any less truthful.  If that statement stung a little-ask yourself, “Why?”   No one should ever sing their own praises; and, if frustration sets in because no one else ever does then it’s time to reflect on why that’s the reality.  Also see: Loves to tell you how busy they are.


Tips for Creating an Effective Campaign

Here is one such campaign that could come across as “bragging”  actually end up hurting victims of mesh even more if those not familiar with the topic first encounter this campaign.   Wearing an expensive watch is fine for personal use but when asking people to donate to a cause for victims it is inconsistent & contradictory language to action. 

Patting self of back

Here’s a test: think of five things you’re great at doing.

If you quickly scoffed and thought to yourself: “Lady, only five?” and rattled off five or more quickly- then lemme help ya out some, you have no problem bragging about yourself and likely why others don’t on your behalf. Need more proof? Think back to that exercise and if you either verbally or mentally added “I’m” before each activity that’s pretty telling confirmation. And if you kept “great” or upgraded then collectively the rest of us would like to tell you to give it a rest.


I’m great at baking.

I’m great at listening.

I’m great at Upper Swahili goat herding.

I’m amazing at helping others.

Goat Herding


If you struggled a little, your eyes rolled upward, you contorted your face at all while trying to think of five things it doesn’t mean you aren’t talented it means you’re well adjusted. Need more proof? You either verbally or mentally used “I’m” exactly one time at the beginning of your thought and you listed slowly.  (Even if this process took you 15 minutes to complete-which if it did then we need to have a different conversation with you).  And you likely downgraded great to good and again used it exactly once in the sentence, like “I’m”.


I’m good at spelling (that’s a joke & this is just an example and not my actual list)


Lower Swahili goat herding


Social Media Etiquette: Self-Quoting

When starting a business self-promotion is a necessary evil; but, there’s a vast difference between self-promotion and self-obsessionMany people in this space have written books or programs and think that quoting themselves adds to their creditability or that of the program when it fact it has the opposite effect.

Similar to the exercise as above:

Do you quote yourself?

We’d collectively like to ask you to stop doing that-it’s one of the quickest ways to get people to unfollow you.  Or keep doing it so we quickly know who to unfollow.  Oh are some of you sulking and need more proof? Think of someone great (yes, other than yourself) and try and find a time that they quoted themselves.


This is different than if you wrote a book and your reference relates to data and facts from the book-big distinction and never used as a “justification” from the unchecked behavior group.

Is it hard for you to promote yourself?

It should be but take your time, think it out and have a plan and it becomes much easier. If you don’t have a little discomfort when self-promoting then there’s a problem.

More on proper techniques for self-promotion as it relates to social media etiquette in Part II.



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