It’s very easy to stick your foot in your mouth when you go online. You can get caught up in the moment and before you know it, you’ve said something you wish you had never said, something that you’ve never imagined you could say. With that in mind, I have a few rules that I try to follow. I’m sure that on occasion I’ve slipped, but here is what I strive for.
- I won’t use profanity or crude language. I have used a choice word now and then but to write it in the online space where it will live on in perpetuity doesn’t work for me.
- I won’t name people on a website if they aren’t already using the website. In other words, if a friend doesn’t use Twitter, then I won’t talk about them on Twitter. The only exceptions are very public people, like Barack Obama, Pete Cashmore, or Katy Perry.
- I won’t criticize individual people online. Ideas, yes. Companies, yes. Organizations, yes. People, no.
- I won’t release personal details of other people online. That includes other people’s email addresses, the city they live in, names of their kids.
- I won’t share pictures of children that people make fun of, even when no name is attached to the photo and the child is seemingly anonymous. The kid probably didn’t give permission for the photo, they’re not old enough to give permission to use the photo, and they’re not old enough to understand the consequences of distributing the photo. (Think memes here.)
- Twitter etiquette: what you can and cannot say (telegraph.co.uk)