Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

Are you breaking social media etiquette?

Our social lives in the 21st century rely heavily on electronics and social media. Just take a moment to think about how many friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and family members you keep in touch with on a regular basis, thanks to the miracles of the Internet.

When it comes to social media, there’s no “rule book” on how you are supposed to use it. For many, it’s a matter of trial-and-error until they figure out what works for them. Sadly, some people have found themselves in awkward or embarrassing situations as a result of their social media use. How can you make the most out of social media, and at the same time, avoid any mishaps? To learn what to do and what not to do, try these tips:


1. Do: Keep business and personal accounts separate
Certain platforms like LinkedIn are geared toward your professional life. But others, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, can be used both professionally and personally. It’s best to keep your career-related activity in separate accounts from your personal activity.

2. Do: Offer something valuable
An observer or “lurker” is someone who observes social media but doesn’t add anything to it. Being a lurker is okay, but it’s not really in the spirit of sharing. Instead, try to add value by posting interesting information, starting a discussion, complimenting others, or creating new content.

3. Do: Be yourself
Social media can become a competition on who has the best life or who can post the best selfie. That’s not really what it’s intended to be. Instead, just be yourself, and your friends and contacts will appreciate it.

4. Do: Be choosy
You don’t have to accept friend invitations from everyone under the sun. Before accepting a friend invitation, consider whether you want that person to see your posts and be a part of your network. If you don’t, it’s okay not to accept.

5. Do: Choose positive over negative
Even if you’re feeling angry or negative, it is generally better to keep your social media activity positive. You may later regret any angry or emotional words that you post. But being positive and constructive almost always breeds more positivity and thoughtfulness.

6. Do: Use spellcheck
If you are not naturally a good speller, it never hurts to type your posts in a program that has spell checker (like Word). It can save you some embarrassment.


1. Don’t: Post anything that you don’t want your employer to see
Even though you can keep your account settings private, it’s still better not to post anything that you wouldn’t want your employer to see. You never know who might forward a post or screen-shot a photo. When in doubt, don’t post it.

2. Don’t: Post anything when you are overly emotional
If you post angry or sad tweets or status updates, you may regret them later. Better to wait until you cool off and see if you still want to post it.

3. Don’t: Hurt other people
Posting embarrassing photos or offensive comments about other people can truly be damaging or upsetting to their lives. Use the golden rule…would you want a photo like that posted of you? If not, then don’t post it.

4. Don’t: Complain about your job
Every job has its ups and downs, but be sure to keep the negative parts to yourself. You wouldn’t want your current employer or potential employer to see something like this.

5. Don’t: Fall for fake news
More and more people are getting their news stories from social media, and the stories are not always vetted by trained journalists. Find reputable news sources that you trust, and for anything that looks suspicious, do a little additional research before believing it or re-posting it.

6. Don’t: Let yourself get down
Seeing the “perfect” lives of others can be hard on your self-esteem. If you’re starting to feel down after using social media, then give yourself some time off. There’s no need to compare yourself to idealized versions of other people. You are great the way you are!

7. Don’t: Forget person-to-person interactions
Social media can boost our social lives tremendously, but it can also limit the amount of time we spend interacting with people face-to-face. Make sure you strike a healthy balance of electronic communications and real in-person conversations. It will make a difference!

We hope you can take a few moments to reflect on how you use social media and whether you are following these do’s and don’ts. Following social media etiquette can make it a much better experience for yourself and the others in your network!


The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health encourages our students to make the most out of social networking and career networking resources. For more information on starting your new career path in the field of nursing, contact us online.

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