Navigating 'netiquette:' How to be a good person in the age of digital devices and social media

CINCINNATI - In the digital age, you may be forgiven for asking, "whatever happened to common courtesy?" And, you may even wonder: How do you know what is common courtesy in this era? 

On a recent sunny day at Findlay Market, while lunchers enjoyed sandwiches, they were, of course, multitasking.

Kirsten Shaffer admitted she's guilty of dividing her attention between friends and phone.

"You're not listening as much, not responding to friends, because you're so busy posting on Facebook, and showing it to the world," she said.

Jill Haney, an image consultant who teaches etiquette, said our digital habits give new meaning to the "me generation."

"We live in a me-centered world and technology has made us more narcissistic," she said.

Haney believes in this digital world, with so many ways to communicate electronically, manners still matter.

"If we just put a little bit of thought it goes a long way into just showing kindness, courtesy, respect to other people, which is what etiquette is all about," she said.

What is good "netiquette?"

On Twitter and Facebook, it's refraining from complaining about work or the boss.

Haney's advice? 

"Would you want it to be read in a courtroom and would you want your grandmother to see it? Those are two good guidelines to go by."

Same thing goes for sexting. Seems like congressman Anthony Weiner should have thought about his grandmother, before he tweeted a suggestive photo of himself in his underwear.

Haney on sexting: "The rule should just be: don't!"

Sometimes there's a generation gap on issues such as: asking for a date by text.

Shaffer said: "Even people just a couple years younger are okay with the whole, hey girl, I'm hangin' out, you wanta just show up with my friends, or whatever?"

Guys should probably think twice before trying to romance via smartphone.

Here's what Findlay luncher Dana Harms said when asked about this: "Absolutely, categorically not. If a guy wants to go out with me, he needs to pick up the phone and call me."

Speaking of the phone

Jill Haney said, put your phone aside when meeting someone IRL (in real life); it's rude to text at any kind of meeting.

"What's so important? You've asked somebody out on a date, you've been called to a meeting, this is your big opportunity, put the phone away."

Remember, Haney added, in business or personal matters, it's about relationships.

"We have to be mindful of how our behavior affects other people,"

Need netiquette help?

If you’re looking for some more social media etiquette tips, from what exactly you can and can’t post while at a friend’s wedding to the rules for unfriending and unfollowing people, we’ve put together a list of resources to help you be your very best online self.

It’s wedding season, so the Huffington Post is sharing some social media tips with anyone who wonders if it’s “too soon” to post the first kiss pic on Facebook as soon as it happens.

Thinking about unfriending someone on Facebook? What about tagging your friends in all those vacation photos you just uploaded? Real Simple magazine has some good points to consider before you make any rash social media decisions.

For everything from labeling yourself a “social media expert” (hint: you’re not) to live-Tweeting sporting events and concerts to way-too-personal statues and pictures, TechHive has published the 10 Commandments of Social Media Etiquette.

We rely on Emily Post for etiquette advice, and the website offers netiquette guidelines as well. Topics include cyber bullying, proper friending procedures, and Twitter tips.

If you’re linking all of your social platforms and think it looks great – think again. This story shares some social etiquette rules that will surely help make your content more unique, tailored and interesting. Plus, it’ll save all of your friends from shaking their heads with a mix of frustration and pity when they see your posts!

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