Saturday, December 9 2023

Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behavior is one of the most famous books in the world. It’s a manual for good manners, and it dictates rules of social etiquette. It explains how to show respect for others, especially when sitting together at the table.

We might think this means good posture, but it also concerns things like the proper use of the napkin, knife, and fork.

Galateo thoroughly explains how one should behave with guests at the dinner table (who always gets the first helping), what to say and what not to say at the beginning of the meal, and so on.

However, being “proper,” doesn’t only mean behaving gracefully at mealtime.

There are many aspects of our lives in which we can show politeness, just as, conversely, we can be arrogant and rude.

Here’s an example: Let’s think about our approach to the “big table setting of social networks.”

How do we consume the content served? How do we serve others?

Sometimes, when we log on to social networks, we feel like there should also be a rulebook for polite behavior for the virtual—yet very real—world, too.

If we may, we’d like to suggest some manners that apply to social media:

  1. Avoid binge eating, meaning don’t be on social media too long.

It applies when you’re at the table, and it applies when you’re surfing the internet. Gorging yourself always makes you choke. To avoid indigestion, try to moderate your use of social media (as you do when deciding how much food you actually need) and take breaks (as you do between meals). 

  1. Don’t be inappropriate

A golden rule when logging onto social media is: think before you post.

Are you going to say something useful, nice, or funny, or not? Do your words make the atmosphere more pleasant or more awkward, more relaxed or more tense? Saying something on social media is just like saying it in person: there is always someone on the other side of that screen!

  1. Don’t offend others at the table, i.e., respect those who are online with you

Ask yourself: am I about to offend someone? Am I about to make someone feel inferior to me? If so, stop, or you will only make a mess in the virtual world, like when you place a dirty fork on a white tablecloth.

  1. Check the quality of the food, i.e., careful what content you post

Before you share, count to ten. Think: are you giving accurate information? Are the sources reliable? Are you absolutely certain that you’re not sharing fake news?

  1. Don’t sit down at the table with just anyone, i.e., let useless debates go

Am I carrying on a constructive conversation, or am I wasting my time? Becoming “keyboard lions” isn’t good for anyone. We waste our own time, and the other person who, perhaps genuinely mistaken, will certainly not take a moment to think if a stranger attacks him/her.

  1. Invite others to the table without showing off. Be welcoming, don’t just show off your life.

Before creating content, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Are you using the platform to share (create community) or to show off (seek to be placed on a pedestal for how good I am)? Platforms are about communication and networking. When you post something, ask yourself: will those who see the content feel bad, inferior, diminished, insulted, etc., or good, hopeful, courageous, inspired?

What about you, do you have any other tips for a Galateo 2.0?


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