Debrett’s, the “modern authority on all matters etiquette, taste and achievement”, has joined forces with UK internet service provider Sky Broadband and published a digital decorum offering etiquette tips for Twitter and Facebook users.
Founded in 1769, Debrett’s (named after London-born publisher John Debrett) publishes a range of guides on traditional British etiquette and manners, which date back to the mid-1900s. In recent years they have attempted to modernise and expand their range to include definitive works on correct Etiquette For Girls, Modern Manners and a Guide For The Modern Gentlemen.
That’s right – it’s all very proper, and very British, don’t you know.
This list of ten tips for perfect etiquette on Twitter and Facebook is an even bigger leap towards 21st-century relevance, and casts a dim eye on social media car-crash specialists such as Charlie Sheen and Courtney Love.
Top Ten Tips For Tweeters And Other Social Animals
1. Avoid causing fear and chaos by wording your tweets correctly: a wrongly worded tweet caused panic about a gunman on London’s Oxford Street recently. In fact, the tweet referred to a harmless photo shoot.
2. Do not overload the Facebook homepage feed with countless status updates. Be sure that your posts are written to enlighten others, and not used as an exercise in vanity, or as a way to share too much information – yes Rhianna, we didn’t really need to know about the spanking.
3. Do not use social media under the influence. Mr Charlie Sheen may not have such qualms, but few are the letters, conversations or electronic correspondence that are more lucid when intoxicated.
4. Do not vent online. And take particular care if your personal Twitter account is also utilised for work purposes – tantrums on Twitter rarely resolve disputes with colleagues, customers or clients. Ms Courtney Love’s aggressive Twitter rants at her fashion designer cost her impressive £264,000 in lawsuit costs. It would have been more prudent to have bought a bar of soap to wash her mouth out.
5. Do refrain from airing your dirty laundry in public and keep your spats off the web. Although it may help you get column inches if you’re promoting a TV show or a new album…
6. Do not bombard your various social media outlets with lots of pictures, updates and blogs all at once – sharing is not always caring. Mr Russell Brand landed himself in hot water recently when he posted a picture of his new wife without wearing make-up.
7. Most importantly, ensure your personal profile across all form of social media reflects yourself in the way you desire. We have to ask again. Are you listening Courtney Love?
8. Do not let spelling and grammar fly out the window. 140 characters is not an excuse to be sloppppy [sic]
9. Be selective in accepting invitations on business networks such as LinkedIn. This is your professional network – a revealing black book of people whom you believe to be valued contacts. Consider that many recruitment officers will search and invite contacts en masse.
10. And lastly, make sure you use other forms of communication once in a while… Pick up the phone, meet face-to-face, or even write a good, old-fashioned letter. You do remember how, don’t you?
So: good, clean and sound advice, or blatant bandwagoning?* Will the Debrett’s etiquette guide inspire you to change your ways, or has Charlie Sheen’s (inevitably short-lived) success on Twitter suggested that his model might be the one to follow?
* You might say that. I couldn’t possibly comment.