Social Networking Peeve: "Bad Manners"
How polished is your social networking etiquette?
A survey released last week by the Consumer Internet Barometer, a production of TNS and The Conference Board, found that common pet peeves among social networking regulars include lack of privacy and, more interestingly, lack of "manners."
The news release sharing the results didn't elaborate on the finding, nor did it go into detail about what constitutes poor manners. But it got me thinking about the new etiquette that has formed around the likes of Facebook and MySpace. How do you turn down a friend request without hurting the requester's feelings? What happens if you categorize someone as a "co-worker" when they consider you more of a close friend? How do you avoid offending someone who doesn't make the cut as one of your "top friends?" How do you politely ask your friend to stop bombarding you with countless invites for yet another application?
Social networks have fundamentally changed how we interact with friends by making it easier to keep in touch, rekindle relationships and broaden social horizons. But it's also a lot easier to cut corners. Just today, I found myself saying farewell to a friend who is moving away from Washington by writing a message on her Facebook wall. I quickly realized how impersonal it was and vowed to give her a call -- yes, an actual phone call -- before she leaves town.
When it comes to maintaining relationships, do social networks let us "cheat" a little to much? Have you been offended by a "lack of manners" from your online circle of friends? Or has this new type of "casual etiquette" become the accepted norm?
June 16, 2008; 1:36 PM ET
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