The Ten Commandments of social networking

Avoid embarrassment and unemployment with these tips


Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Well, perhaps not, but everybody else is busily cataloguing their entire lives on Twitter, Facebook and various other social networks.

So how do you ensure your status updates don't lead to unemployment, homelessness and drinking Special Brew under a bridge?

How can you ensure your tweets aren't a turn-off?

The answer is simple: follow the path of righteousness and stick to our Ten Commandments.

1. Thou shalt not overshare

Some things are best kept between you and your partner, doctor or psychiatrist. For example, if your update contains the words "pus", "warts" or "prolapse", you probably shouldn't post it.

2. Thou shalt not forget who's following you

It's easy to add lots of friends or to attract lots of followers, but it's equally easy to forget that your boss, your mum, your partner or your angry, violent ex is reading the stuff you post online. The golden rule of sharing is never post something you wouldn't want your mum, your employer, a judge or a potential romantic partner to see.

3. Thou shalt not post about other people

It's very exciting to know something that lots of other people don't, but if your friend or relative has a new job, has fallen pregnant, has broken up with their long term partner or is going in for gender reassignment surgery - which, let's face it, means they've had a hell of a week - it's not your job to tell the entire planet.

Similarly, if you're angry with a certain person who was supposed to do a certain thing but of course they didn't and you're so angry about it I mean it's not as if it's that hard is it and you've done your share and it's not fair and… maybe you should just tell them directly instead of making 200 people think they're back in primary school.

4. Thou shalt not spam

Spam is, of course, evil - and while it's not pushing herbal Viagra, inviting 25 pals to play a dumb quiz is still spam. So is polluting the Internet with constant updates on whatever game / magic space bear creator / complete and utter waste of time you're currently using, or posting promo codes for unbeatable special offers.

5. Thou shalt not spoil things for everyone

The box at the top of Facebook says "What's on your mind?" and the one on Twitter, "What are you doing?" Neither says "please tell the entire Internet the winner of the X Factor / the twist at the end of the latest blockbuster / the ending of District 9".

6. Thou shalt not live for today

There's an entire website, Lamebook - some of which isn't safe for work - detailing the stuff people post on Facebook that they're likely to regret in the not too distant future. We particularly like the post by the girl with the bruised scrotum.

7. Thou shalt not ignore the privacy settings

Social networks want you to share everything by default. Of course they do: they want the traffic. Some settings are more sinister than others, so for example Facebook Ads may use your profile picture to flog stuff to your friends. If you don't go digging for these settings you're probably sharing more than you'd like.

8. Thou shalt not post first and think later

If you get drunk and buy a helicopter on eBay you'll regret it in the morning. The same applies to drunken posts, photos of you making a fool of yourself or anything else that seems a good idea in the heat of the moment. The Internet doesn't have a delete button, and even if you remove the photos or posts later you can't be sure that someone hasn't already stored them in their Big Blackmail Folder.

9. Thou shalt not post nonsense

Months or even years of goodwill can be undone with a single stupid post. Angry political rants, controversial viewpoints and tinfoil hat conspiracy woo is best left to blogs.

10. Thou shalt not be boring

"I'm hungry!" "I'm making dinner!" "Dinner is nearly ready!" "I'm eating dinner!" "I enjoyed my dinner!" "Why is nobody following me any more?" Just because you can post every single thing you do - or that your kids do - doesn't mean you should. Stick to the edited highlights and think of status updates and tweets as your Greatest Hits.


Liked this? Then check out 15 things you should never do on Facebook

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