The unwritten rules of social media you need to be following

Graphic by Alan Li

Is social media presence becoming too muddled for you to understand? Are you lost? Take my proverbial hand and allow me to guide you through this mess we’ve all helped to create. Here are the unwritten rules you should always be following for Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


  1. I’m not going to say don’t snap drunk—because there’s nothing more simultaneously terrifying and amusing of going through your story the next morning. But my advice to never try to snap a specific person drunk, it’s like drunk texting but so much worse. I learned that one the hard way.
  2. If someone has the courtesy to send you a humorous and ugly snap, have the courtesy to send one back. Someone went out of their way to make themselves ugly to make you laugh and you don’t even send back an “lol”?
  3. Try not to post to your story and then send the same snap to someone individually. Okay, I’ve been guilty of this, but here’s my excuse: if I look adorable in a snap — those filters make us all so cute — I don’t want just one person to see it. The world needs to see how cute I am with bear ears (which is very).


  1. If you’re in a relationship, don’t go on a double-tap spree on somebody else’s selfies. If you think that’s controlling, too bad, you don’t get to do whatever you want all the time. Respect your partner enough to act like you’re in a relationship, even when you’re online.
  2. Don’t let your friend’s photo’s go unliked. If your friend only has five likes, then it’s your obligation to swoop in there like a hero and throw on a comment for good measure. I assure you, they’ve done the same.
  3. Don’t crop someone out of the photo. Who is that mysterious elbow floating beside you? To whom does that phantom foot belong? We’ll never know because you had to be the centre of attention and crop them out.
  4. Don’t use inspirational quotes. Using anything that can be found on BrainyQuote stopped being unique during the Myspace era, at least attempt originality.


Is there a dumpster fire worse than Facebook? No. We all hate it, but we’re sick and we can’t log off. There’s no number of rules to save it, but lets try some anyways.

  1. Don’t be a cryptic. There’s nothing more aggravating than a vague post. “Now I know I was a fool”. Give me the details! If I’m on this site wasting my life away at least make it worth while and share why you’re such fool.
  2. Online PDA is worse than real life PDA. If you see a couple making out on bench you can go, “gross … but young love” and walk away. Seeing those endless posts about how “I’ve finally found my true love” is probably the fakest thing we see on a regular basis. We all see through your façade, and it’s an unstable relationship that you feel you need to validate on Facebook. For shame.
  3. Mind your unfriending. Anyone you’ve met in post-secondary, I would keep on your roster. It’s shocking who becomes successful after they complete their undergraduate — that person who barely made it through your first-year seminar may be useful to you outside the lecture hall. Keep it in mind next time you go through a purge on your friends list.


  1. Don’t vie for followers. It’s desperate, you can do better than a #followforfollow. And if you can’t, accept that like the rest of us, you’re just not that interesting. Not everyone is going to be social media star, and why would you want to be?
  2. Remember that everything is public. To avoid making a serious blunder a la Ted Cruz, keep those likes in mind. Your boss can easily go and check what you’ve been liking, so keep it PG.

We have a chance to paint whatever picture we want of ourselves. It’s easy to mess up and pull “receipts” on each other. But follow these golden rules and you should be able to come out of this social media hell-scape with the best version of yourself on display for the world to see.

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