How to be better online: Social media etiquette tips to stay sane

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DES MOINES, Iowa — From young to old, it now seems like every major age group is online. Whether they’re using social media for work purposes, keeping in touch with old friends, or seeking out new connections there is no denying that the online world is unlike ever before. 

A professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Drake, Chris Snider said there are a few things people should be keeping in the back of their mind to better navigate social media platforms.

Social media etiquette, you know, is really, you’re thinking about how you are going to act on social media,” said Snider. “What are you going to put out to the world on social media? Are you going to be a positive force or a negative force there? But I don’t think there’s anything officially written down, like ‘this is what social media etiquette needs to be.’”

While there are many individual circumstances to how you act and use social media, the rules can be broken down into a few categories. 

  1. Recognizing how the networks work and how that can take a toll on your mental health. Even if you’re good with your mental health, realizing that it’s going to take a toll on other people.
  2. Don’t engage in drama. You’re not going to change anyone’s mind about anything on social media. 
  3. Unfollow people who are not benefitting your feed. Know when to put your foot down.
  4. Bring more positivity to the network. Use it to lift others up or reach out to an old friend. 

It is very easy to get out of tune with how you feel when you are absorbed in liking, commenting, and sharing online so Snider suggests that you reflect on your experiences every time you log off these networks.

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