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how-to-avoid-the-awkward-on-social-mediaLet's talk social tips for social media.

Hit the alarm, grab a coffee, and Instagram some photos. Scramble eggs, shave your legs, get on Twitter. Traffic jam - Facebook!

Social media networks aren’t just part of our mornings; they’re part of our lives. What we’re thinking, eating, cooking, wearing… and who we’re doing it all with are all broadcast to our friends, families, and even strangers.

There’s something fun about being so connected, but it can be hard to know how to approach social media today. Just because you can snap of picture of anything and any moment doesn’t mean you should, and just because you can comment on of the lives of people you haven’t seen since high school doesn’t mean you should.

There’s etiquette to this sort of look-at-me-looking-at-you phenomenon.

Social Media Etiquette for the Self-Respecting Woman

1. Don’t Show Off

A side effect of social media is that we tend to only show the best side of ourselves. Would you ever take a profile picture without your best lipstick in the best light and on your best hair day? It makes sense, but it starts to feel like a lie after a while. Are you trying to “prove” to your followers how great your life is, or how much better it is than theirs? That’s an ugly temptation and it’s deceptively easy to fall into. If you find yourself taking photos of yourself hoping that other women will feel bad about themselves for not being you, stop it.

2. Don't be Passive Aggressive

The worst tweets and status updates start with “I hate when some people…” The same rules apply on social media that apply in the non-digital world. If someone is bothering or hurting you, talk to them about it. Don’t grab a bullhorn and start yelling about how much you hate it when “some people do x,” hoping the offender hears you.

3. Get Off Your Soap Box

Another unintended consequence of the share-everything-all-day culture is that we learn a lot about each other that we may not otherwise: your diet, your approach to child-rearing, your politics, etc. It’s fine to share, but you’ll become un-followable if your feed is simply a list of rules, telling everyone that if they don’t make the exact same decisions you do, you think they’re an idiot.

4. Don't Tempt Yourself

A new study from the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking has concluded that avid Facebook users are more likely to experience relationship trouble. Whether it’s because you’re constantly “checking up” on your guy’s info or you’re reconnecting with old flames, social media can be troubled waters for committed lovers. Be an adult. Don’t social-media-stalk your partner. Defriend your high school sweetheart.

5. Know When Too Much is Too Much 

Your adorable naked-in-the-bathtub little bundle of joy has not had a say in whether his picture gets posted on the world wide web. Not only are there plenty of creepy people out there now that you probably don’t want looking at your baby. Think about how your child is going to feel when he gets older and those pictures are still out there. Not only is that disrespectful to him, it’s a little annoying to your followers, too. Your baby is lovely, but not as interesting to the rest of us as he is to you. And that’s ok.

We’re sharing our lives now more than ever thanks to social media, and that’s great. But tread lightly and remember, you are a dignified woman with smarts and scruples. Don’t give that up the second you log in to Instagram.

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