Reuters has an interesting article today on an attempt to create an “etiquette bible” for social networking sites such as Facebook. Here are some of the “golden rules”:
1. You don’t have to make friends with people you don’t know. Think before you poke.
2. Wait 24 hours before accepting or removing someone as a friend. The delay will help you gather your thoughts.
3. Birthdays, engagements and weddings are not “virtual” events. Always send cards or phone friends when there is an important event.
4. Think before posting a friend’s photo what you would feel like if it was you.
5. Think carefully about your profile picture. Would you want it to be appearing in your local newspaper?
This reminded me of an earlier attempt to create a “blogging code” a while back. It poses the question of whether the Internet, specifically social networking dimensions, including blogging, requires a sense of etiquette and rules. The Internet is technically a free zone of thoughts, ideas, words and expressions. Regulation, whether in the form of government censorship and/or “controls” or personal and individual discretion, is and may always be a split issue. There will always be people who will rally in favor of it, and there will always be people who are against it.
My personal stance? Part me is always tempted to see a (bit) more regulated Internet, but then I remember that’s not what the cyber space is about. You have to enjoy both the chaos and the order that it brings. Even in that chaos there can be great beauty.