Social Media Mistakes

Social media connects us, but it can also be isolating. Here's how to stop social media-ing and rejoin the real world.

Richie Frieman,
April 6, 2014
Episode #290

Page 2 of 2

I don’t know what is so important that it can’t wait five minutes (heck, five seconds even) until you are out of harm's way. It’s like driving; if you really have to take a call or write something down while driving, simply pull over. It's not that hard. Similarly, if you absolutely must text or tweet while in the hallway at work or while walking on a crowded train platform, simply stop, lean against a wall, and type, text, post or poke to your heart's content. Once done, you can resume walking to where you need to go without ruining anyone’s day.

See also: Don’t Ruin Your Social Media Reputation


When you W.W.S.M., you are not paying attention to your surroundings and you never know how that can affect others. What if the next time, instead of running into the cushiony upper body of a colleague, you run headfirst into a door or a wall. Ouch! Good luck playing that one off. 

Tip #3: Social Media Updates During Meals

As I said in Tip #2, nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait 10 seconds until you have time to properly pay attention to the issue at hand. But when it comes to social media-ing, people are too focused on sharing rather than on communicating.  Yes, there is a big difference.

Say you're out to brunch with a friend and you order an omelet. It arrives looking delicious. Does that mean you have to post a photo of it on Instagram right now? Why can’t the posting – which takes time – wait until you're done? You won’t get credit for posting something on social media at 11:05 rather than 11:15 - especially when it's simply about something casual like a meal or a friend’s birthday. If your work involves posting food photos on social media, then that's different. You have an argument there. And if that's the case, you should remove yourself from the table and take care of the posting in private. If not, you should simply enjoy your meal and the company of your friend without digital interruption.

I realize that smartphones are becoming a part of our table setting. I didn’t say I like it, I just said I understand it’s happening. I actually think it’s beyond rude. A meal is a scared time to put down the phone and engage with your dining companions. No one wants to be around someone who would rather spend time tweeting to strangers about their meal, than talk to the one person they know, sitting only a foot away across the table. So go ahead, take a picture of the meal before you eat it, and heck, even take one at the end, but then put the phone away. Let the food and the company take precedence over the potential “likes” you may get as a result of posting the photo.

If you have a manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

Smartphone addict and other images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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