I feel that existing codes of conduct and other company policies probably cover most cases of unprofessional behaviour, whether in the online space or otherwise. For example, if swearing at a colleague is a no‑no in the office, then why on Earth would it be acceptable on a blog? Same goes for aggression, intimidation, ridicule, rudeness and all the other uglies.
However, the new medium does present some new social challenges. For example, is it OK to poke a colleague? What if she’s female? The double entendre is potentially serious.
So Debrett’s, the “modern authority on all matters of etiquette, taste and achievement” (LOL!) has produced 5 Golden Rules for Polite Social Networking:
- You don’t have to make friends with people you don’t know. It’s not a competition to see how many friends you can get. Think before you poke.
- Always wait 24 hours before accepting or removing someone as a friend. The delay will help you gather your thoughts.
- Birthdays, engagements and weddings are not “virtual” events. Always send birthday cards or call your friends when there’s important news.
- Consider your friends’ feelings before posting pictures. Put yourself in their shoes before uploading.
- Think carefully about your profile picture. If you don’t want to see it in your local newspaper, don’t put it online.
It all sounds like common sense to me.