Style & ShowbizHealth

New etiquette rules for the digital age

HealthBy Sunday World
New etiquette rules for the digital age

Sir Elton John might pride himself on not using a mobile phone, but that’s not the case for most of us. In fact, many of us are so dependent on them we dread the creeping feeling of terror which descends when we realise we’ve left our phone at home, or, more maddeningly, spot the dreaded ‘low battery’ signifier.

It comes a bit of a surprise that there isn’t a commonly-followed etiquette which is followed in this increasingly switched on age then. Is it OK to text to say you’re taking a day off sick? Should you friend your boss on social media? And what about the virtual minefield of the indulgent Facebook status?

Help is at hand courtesy of BT Mobile and Oxford University, who have teamed up to create a list of 17 social media commandments after studying the behaviour of 2,000 adults.

Firstly, it’s suggested private messaging should be saved for friends only – never try to send on to a random stranger. You should never hide what you’ve been looking at online from your partner, and also it’s best to avoid over-sharing on Facebook (so sorry if you’re heartbroken about your breakup, but we don’t want to hear it).

Make sure you use social networks the right way; LinkedIn is a professional platform, so save your flirty banter for Tinder. The advice is to step away from the keyboard when you’re feeling emotional too, which means no texting when you’re angry, upset or worst of all drunk. No Facebook posts when you’re sozzled either. In fact no internet at all when you’ve had a few!

Don’t put kisses at the end of work emails and never gossip about people via text or social media. If you need the day off you should talk to your boss, not rely on a text, and bad news should also never be related via text.

There were also tips on wishing people happy birthday, negotiating group messages, snooping on your partner’s phone and then the big one: sorry, but ending a romance over text or social media is a big no-no.

“By nature, humans are social animals,” explained psychologist Dr Peter Collett. “Given that so much of our enjoyment is linked to other people, it’s hardly surprising that we invest so much time and effort into keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances. New digital communications have made it even easier for us to express our true nature, and the research… uncovers some really interesting new trends of the cyber friendship.”

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