December 19, 2013

Rignite’s Guide To Social Media Etiquette For The Holidays

Merry Christmas like conceptIn the immortal words of John Lennon: “…So this is Christmas, and what have you done?” (We’d prefer it if you imagine us singing it as well as John Lennon.)

In the world of perfect social media, this question would never trigger a wave of remorse, a twinge of conscience, an embarrassing memory, or a reflexive reach for the “delete” button. That’s because, in this “perfect world,” we would all have posted nothing but charming photos, witty remarks and warm messages of goodwill throughout the season, forever elevating the level of courtesy and discourse on the internet.

Now, that would be a Holiday miracle.

Unfortunately, just as surely as the Whos will sing in Whoville, Facebook and other platforms will feature a variety of inappropriate holiday messages, offensive pictures and self-centered, tactless posts.

Usually, the perpetrators aren’t really malicious — just clueless. By using consideration, common sense and some basic ground rules, you can ensure that you aren’t one of them. So read on, and let us help you grow your social media etiquette 3 sizes today.

Picture This! Well…Not Always

DON’T stay glued to your phone during holiday dinners. Your phone should only be used to take pictures to share on social media.

DO let people know you are posting your holiday picture so you don’t look like you’re checking your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or social network of choice.

DO post and tag flattering pictures of friends and family. If you have that rare perfect shot of your near and dear ones engaged in cheerful holiday activities — caroling, spinning dreidels, decking the halls, whatever — and nobody is squinting, grimacing or looking hung over, by all means, put it on Facebook.

Rignite Insight: If you want to take your social etiquette to the next level, ask your subjects before you post, even if you feel the picture is an ideal representation of everyone involved.

DON’T post dubious or inappropriate pictures of people on Facebook; it’s stupid, insensitive and downright tacky. Avoid posting pictures of:

• Shots of people in compromising positions
• Images of partiers who are intoxicated and/or inappropriately dressed
• Pictures of people involved in illegal or unsavory activities

Whether you’re the poster or postee, these Facebook blunders can earn you a big lump of Christmas coal. Even if you truly believe nothing says “glad tidings of great joy” like a shot of your wasted, red-eyed friends wearing elf caps, resist the temptation. You’ll thank us later.

DON’T post mediocre, poorly-lit pictures of half-eaten meals this holiday season. Especially don’t post your sad enchilada, glistening with grease, or your murky salad Nicoise with the dark, unidentifiable chunks. We’re begging you.

Of course, a flawless picture of your (uneaten) Christmas turkey, done to golden perfection and artfully wreathed in ruby-red cranberries, is acceptable. But “mealies” (Get it? It’s like a selfie, but for your food) that look like crime scenes? They’re just wrong.

A Very Merry Facebook Status

DO post a warm, sincere, upbeat holiday message on your wall.

DO try to provide entertaining, quirky or pointed holiday observations on your updates.

DON’T post long rants about holiday woes, unless you have a flair for humorous writing and feel your diatribe will truly entertain. (As a general rule, you probably don’t and it probably won’t – better to save it for a smaller audience.)

DON’T use Facebook to post lists, detailed descriptions or pictures of all the presents you received. It can come off as bragging, especially to people who haven’t been showered with material gifts – it may make you glad that Facebook doesn’t have a ‘slap in the face’ button.

Instagram Etiquette: Quality, Not Quantity

DO remember to be creative. Instagram is the place to post your good-quality holiday pictures, but remember that creativity is valued. If you have decorated your Christmas tree, Hanukkah bush or menorah in a particularly unusual or eye-catching way, go ahead and post it.

DON’T overpost, however, or use too many similar pictures. A daily photo of your slowly browning Christmas tree — or 17 shots of your dog wearing reindeer antlers — may not be as well-received.

DO take it easy on the selfies – a few of these go a long way.

Pinterest Etiquette: Credit Where Credit’s Due

DO create a board of your favorite holiday crafts, decorations, or meals.

DO be kind in your comments. It’s OK to think that someone’s homemade Christmas wreath looks like a giant, decorated toilet brush; not so OK to express it publicly, where it can wound the artist’s feelings.

DO list the website or the photographer when linking to someone else’s picture. For pictures of food, link back to the original recipe or source.

Proper “Twittequette”

DO tweet your warmest Season’s Greetings to followers.

DON’T direct-message someone on Twitter for the purpose of promoting your holiday-linked business (“The Holidays are jolly, or so the saying goes. This Holiday season, let Mickson plumbing solve your drainage woes.”).

DON’T flame anyone during the holidays (or at any other time, really). Although Twitter encourages open debate, inflammatory or insulting tweets will only bring you bad karma and a lump of coal.

Now, go ahead and spread holiday cheer throughout cyberspace. Only not all through a holiday family dinner, of course. That’s just rude (Yes, we’re looking at you cousin Elizabeth).

What are on your dos and don’ts list for Holiday social media etiquette?

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About the Author
Maureen Lenehan

Maureen started at Rignite as a summer intern. Now in her senior year of college, she has joined as a part-time member of our marketing team. She blogs about social media from the perspective of a 20-something.