Social-networking manners

A Telegraph columnist understandably asks, basically: What's wrong with this picture – a stuffy old publisher "identified in the popular mind with … the appropriate usage of pudding forks and cheese knives" writing rules for polite social networking? But somebody at Debrett's must have a profile in MySpace, Bebo, or Facebook. They're pretty good rules, actually – except maybe for the one that says you're supposed to always use a phone or card to wish a friend happy birthday, not a comment on his/her wall. However, Washington Post writer Kim Hart, blogged this question: "When it comes to maintaining relationships, do social networks let us 'cheat' a little too much?" She was writing about a just-released survey by the Consumer Internet Barometer finding that "common pet peeves among social-networking regulars include 'lack of manners'." Debrett's five "golden rules" are at the bottom of this other Telegraph report on the subject. It'd be very interesting to ask a teenage focus group what's missing. And the Telegraph columnist's right, of course, that "codes of behaviour emerge from the users [of social sites], and are constantly modified by them." It's just that some older users don't always want to wait that long.

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