The GuardianThe Guardian

Never unfollow, gossip with caution, and always ask before you post – how to behave online

By Imogen West-Knights

14 Apr 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

The Guardian has consulted with social media and etiquette experts to deliver a failsafe guide to surviving a life lived out online. Here are the general dos and don’ts to consider.

Social media is bad. And awkward. And one of the easiest places to make an idiot of yourself. We all know it, and we all know why, but it exists and most people are on it one way or another because there’s something deeply and irreparably wrong with us.

So, given that millions of us are in this position, how can we avoid some of the endless pitfalls that come with presenting ourselves on social media? And how do we avoid embarrassment or falling out with friends, partners or employers? With the caveat that each generation uses social media differently (here’s to you over-50s, and your love of ending a message with an ellipsis, and to Gen Z’s obsession with the term “low-key”), here are some general dos and don’ts for online behaviour, corroborated by social media and etiquette experts.

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