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Survey suggests many need to improve their social media manners

Survey suggests many need to improve their social media manners

Are you a Lurker, Vaguebooker or an overly-proud parent?

February 7th, 2013 by Mark Huffman of ConsumerAffairs in News

How's your social media etiquette? A survey of social media users suggests most people could use a little improvement in their online behavior.

For example, the survey commissioned by found that 88% of young parents between the ages of 18 and 35 flood Facebook with updates and photos of their children at least once a month. One in ten social media users have lost friends due to political posts and 36% of women aged 18-35 said they would be embarrassed if people on the other end of their "lurking" knew how often they viewed their profiles.

On ConsumerAffairs, complaints about Facebook often include comments about other users' behavior.

Extreme examples

"I wrote to the FTC and all those others turning in a stalker, who not only threatened to do harm to my mother but also me," Reba, of California, wrote in a recent ConsumerAffairs post. "I'm frustrated by the negligence in Facebook practices. I waited for some kind of reply to get this stopped."

Scott, of Sammamish, Wash., reported that someone created a fraudulent Facebook page, impersonating him.

"This individual then began a campaign of character assassination through the posting of very inflammatory rhetoric," Scott wrote. "Facebook failed to verify the ID of the person creating the page and then refused to take down the page until the state attorney general's office intervened on my behalf."

These are, perhaps, extreme examples of bad social media behavior. The survey identified several other behaviors that, while more subtle, are no less annoying to many social media consumers.

Lurker & cute kids

For example, are you a "lurker?" According to the survey, nearly a quarter of young men under age 35 admit to creeping onto an ex's social media profile once a month.

Young women do it too, but less frequently. Only about 20% of young women in the same age group admit to "lurker" behavior.

Maybe you are a "vaguebooker." That's someone who posts status updates so vague - likely by design - that friends and followers have almost no choice but to ask for more detail.

One in four adults between 18 and 35 are guilty of "vaguebooking" on a monthly basis, posting intentionally vague or broad status updates to encourage friends and followers to react, reach out or inquire for more details.

To many, there's nothing worse than a "Spoiler." That's someone who doesn't think twice about using Twitter or Facebook to broadcast the details of a series finale or an opinion of a new movie's ending.

Thirty-six percent of social media users over the age of 35 admit to posting TV or movie spoilers on their social networks, though only 14% of younger social network users say they are guilty of this behavior.

Everyone loves their children but some social media users have no hesitation about blasting this love all over social media.

Eighty-eight percent of young parents post pictures of their kids or parenting-related updates once a month.

Everybody's a pundit

Does it seem like a lot of your Facebook friends are auditioning for talk radio or a cable news show? Some people don't seem to be able to restrain themselves when it comes to expressing political opinions.

The survey found 35% of social media users post political opinions at least once a month. Eleven percent of social media users say they have lost friends because of political posts on their social networks. No doubt much of that occurred in the recent election cycle.

In days past etiquette guardians like Emily Post set the rules for people to interact in polite company. But with much of our interaction now taking place online, maybe it's time for a social media Emily Post to step forward to establish some standards for social media behavior.