Social Networking Etiquette

Smartphones and social media have changed the way we live and work. They’ve also created some awkward situations. Here are the answers to some questions about etiquette in the information age:

#1: “What can I do about loud and obnoxious cell phone users?” New York Times etiquette columnist Philip Galanes says that unless the person is chatting during church, it’s pretty much a “grin and bear it” situation. The other exception is a public venue, like a theater. In that case, your best and safest bet is to notify the manager.

Next: “What’s the rule on asking someone out with a text message?” The Emily Post Institute says that first dates should never be made via text. Only in person or over the phone.

Another information age etiquette question: “I met someone on a dating site and I’m not interested, but they won’t give up. What should I do?” Michael Lasky is the author of Online Dating for Dummies. He says that a lot of people are tempted to ignore persistent online suitors, but your best option is to write a polite, “No, thank you,” email that clearly explains you’re not interested.

The final question: “Should I unfriend my ex?” Julie Spira wrote The Rules of Netiquette. And she says that there’s no hard-and-fast rule on this one. But if seeing your ex’s updates upsets you, or you’re tempted to air your dirty relationship laundry in public, you should unfriend them right away.

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