The Unwritten Rules of Social Media

Social media is both a curse and blessing, depending on how you look at it. People of all ages, both young and old, seem to be hopping on the bandwagon and creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It’s quite remarkable to think about how much social media has impacted society. Social media provides people with the opportunity to share as much (or as little) as they’d like with friends and even complete strangers with just the click of a button.

Social media is essentially a free-for-all; there are no explicitly stated rules for the most part – unless you consider character counts and things of that nature. However, I’ve noticed that people on social media seem to follow a set of unwritten rules – rules that control what we post, when we post, and how we post. 0bf94c_cac8e22b2010489eb73be9db53ba99e2

For example, the way we use Facebook has drastically changed. Multiple status updates a day is just not something you see anymore, and if you do see it, there’s a good chance it leaves you irritated. People don’t actually want to know “what’s on your mind” all the time, so we stick to sharing big, exciting events everyone once in a while rather than small, insignificant ones often.

Twitter has somewhat replaced the multiple status updates that were once posted on Facebook. You can quickly share “what’s happening” in a feed that’s much more timely, fast paced, and interactive. As long as you’re not spamming your followers’ feed with multiple tweets at once, you’re in the clear. People tend to voice their opinions more freely and frequently on Twitter than they would on Facebook.

Instagram is unique because it’s only for photo sharing. While it’s completely acceptable to upload an album to Facebook with 50+ pictures, this is a huge no-no on Instagram. Posting multiple times a day is frowned upon, especially if it’s one picture right after the other (unless of course you’re a celebrity). People tend to post only “their best pictures” on Instagram, so they don’t post as often.

It’s really interesting when you think about it. No one has ever stepped up and told us what and when to post, yet people tend to generally follow these unofficial rules without question.

Where did they come from? When did they change? It fascinates me to see how far people are willing to go to “fit in” within their online networks.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t comply, though.


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