Nick Kossovan December’20

Digitized Koffee With Nick

Social Media Manners and the Holidays

By Nick Kossovan

In much need of ongoing discussion: Social media manners.

It should go without saying that you should behave online as you would in person. However, we often see the two worlds differently, and therefore we mistakenly act differently. As I mentioned in a previous column, keep top of mind that what you share online is permanent and you have no control of what happens to it. 

Manners are merely being thoughtful of others. On social media, proper manners start with thinking before you hit the post icon. TIP: Look at what you’re about to post (text, photos, videos) as if you were someone else and try to see how it may look to others.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s holiday gatherings will not be as robust and for some may not even take place. Undoubtedly, social media usage will increase to celebrate the holidays with family and friends with whom we cannot physically gather. To present yourself online as someone who has social media manners – not just during the upcoming holidays, but year-round – use the following as a guide.

Get Permission to Post or Tag.

Good social media manners start with asking for permission before posting someone’s picture, tagging, or quoting them. The holidays are about making memories, and photos capture memories. Yes, your new baby cousin is adorable, as are your toddler nieces and nephews all dressed up for dinner, but just because it’s a precious photo doesn’t mean you should automatically upload it.

Children and babies can’t even imply their own consent. Asking their parents for permission is not just proper social media etiquette, but also common sense. Asking for permission applies to photos of anyone you take, regardless of age, even if you’re in the picture. Taking the photo is fine. Just make sure you get permission from everyone in the photo before sending it out to the social media universe.

On another note, if you want to re-post someone’s picture or meme, ask for their permission beforehand.

Only Post with Love.

When your relatives say things you find hilarious, controversial, or thought-provoking, you should not be live-tweeting the dinner conversation (Why do you have your smartphone at the dinner table?). Take a moment to think of possible repercussions. Taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability, when their guard may be down during a discussion, isn’t cool. 

Offline you wouldn’t talk about somebody behind their back. Hopefully, you’re beyond gossiping and repeating what someone says. As with asking for permission before uploading a photo, ask for permission before quoting someone. Most of the time, that person will give you the green light.

You will never go wrong checking in with your motivations. Ask yourself if your reason for posting is genuine and loving and not to make the person look bad or make a point. In addition, it never hurts to consider if a person’s words and yours can possibly be misinterpreted in a Tweet or Facebook post.

Ask Yourself a Few Key Questions.

Some questions should guide your posts on Christmas morning (and year-round):

“Why am I posting this?” “Am I trying to spread the joy I’m feeling?” “Am I sharing in the spirit of sharing?” “Will people find it interesting and exciting?” If the answers are yes, great! If you’re trying to satisfy a competitive need or impulse to brag (Look at what I got!), sharing will not make you (or your followers) happier.

Be especially mindful of not bragging this holiday season. Many people are facing hardship due to having lost their job or their income being drastically reduced. Posting a picture of your Christmas tree surrounded by presents will be seen by many as bragging and in bad taste. There’s a fine line between sharing and bragging.


The holidays are stressful, and bad days are inevitable. Don’t be afraid to unplug from your devices and social media for some time before posting something you may regret. 

After the crazy year we’ve all had to endure, be especially mindful online this holiday season. Treat others as you would want to be treated. 

To everyone, thank you for having read my column this past year. Stay safe, have the best possible holiday season you can. I’ll see you in January 2021.

~ Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). Submit your social media questions to