Australia Day. A national public holiday that brings forth the humiliating Aussie slang, the triple J hottest 100, the debates on what happened on that day years and years ago.

 

Also a day I happen to see a post from a proud mama sharing her son’s first wee on the potty.

 

*FACEPALM*

 

I’m just going to get my anger out of the way first: FOR FUCKS SAKE YOU MOTHER FUDGER THAT KID NEEDS TO ENJOY THAT PRIVATELY. AND I DON’T WANT TO SEE THAT SHIT. LITERALLY.

 

Phew, thanks. I needed to get that off my chest.

 

I love the online world. I love that we get to share a lot of things about our lives. But there’s a line. A thick, sometimes fuzzy line, that way too many people cross. And the reality is this: it can harm your business if you cross that line.

 

How you behave online impacts your business. It impacts your credibility more specifically. Here’s my take on online etiquette – the rules I abide by so that I keep my credibility in check and also the rules that keep me in align with my values. Because remember, values matter:

 

1. THINK: WOULD I LIKE IT?

I don’t have kids – I have dogs. Same, same, but different. The big difference – my dogs won’t grow up to form judgments, navigate the world of high school or participate in Facebook.

 

The thing is, they’re your kids. Do what you want. But take a moment to consider what happens when the kid grows up and good ol’ On This Day feature shows your kid on the toilet and you promptly re-share it because it’s cute and funny and such a proud moment. Would they like it? Would you like it?

 

From a business-perspective, you might be in the business of kids and motherhood. It might be important to you to share the stories of your kids. And that’s ok – so I would recommend you to consider at least protecting the privacy of your kids. Someone who does this very, very well, even as a ‘mummy blogger’, is the Wellness Mama. Read her great article on why she doesn’t post about her kids online.

 

No child of mine will have their lives shared on the internet. #OpieShaming will live on forever though.

 

2. KEEP IT CONFIDENTIAL. SORTA.

Some will disagree with me here but private communication can be shared if we make it confidential. As in, not just taking their name or business out, but also making it clearly obvious that there is no way to gauge who it could be.

 

But Kate, that’s private communication?!

 

I know, I get it. But sometimes, just sometimes, there’s a lesson that needs to be shared. Like the time I was asked to work for free. We ladies get that shit all the time. And when another lass decides its ok to ask, we just continue the perpetuating sinkhole of devaluing ourselves. My response was showing you how to stand up for yourself. And why you shouldn’t be asking other girl bosses to work for free.

 

What about the times we get douchebag trolls sending us private messages? Sometimes it’s super helpful to see how others respond. What if that troll is making sexist, derogatory comments and you discover he works as a CEO or manager – a leadership position? Haven’t we had enough of them?!

 

I’m not saying share all your private communication or that sweet love note by your partner. Keep most of your private communication private. But like always, there are exceptions. If you do decide to publicly share private communication, be very, very clear on your intention to why you are doing that.

 

3. DON’T BE A DICK.

Think nobody’s going to notice you leave that snarky comment on a random page? Wrong.

 

This is simple common sense. Or common courtesy. Or just common kindness. 

 

Be nice online. Sure, have an opinion and engage in fair debates if that’s your thing, but don’t be a dick about it. It can really damage your credibility otherwise.

 

4. DON’T SPAM

Give, give, give, give then ask. Even in Facebook groups. Especially in Facebook groups.

 

The ladies that generate great results from Facebook groups are the ones that are consistently engaging in these groups. They don’t just promote every ‘promo’ day but actually get in there and start up conversations. Or provide help as often as possible. These ladies are genuine legends. And we can learn a lot from them. 

 

But those who spam constantly? Those who continually ask for a sale? Boring. And no, I’d never buy from you.


What are your online etiquette rules? Join the discussion over in the CATOB group here.