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Um . . . Should I Post That?

Is it cool to repost a meme without credit? How do you handle annoying comments? Read on to test how well you understand the rules of social media etiquette.

Click here for an interactive version of this quiz!

If you have two thumbs and a phone, you’re likely something of a social media pro. Your selfie face is on point, you’re fluent in meme, and you think up #hilarious captions in your sleep.

But no matter how much of a social media master you are, you probably still face decisions that leave you scratching your head. That’s because a lot of social media dilemmas come down to questions of etiquette. Etiquette doesn’t just mean knowing not to chew with your mouth open—it means understanding the codes of respectful behavior for a situation. Following good online etiquette can be tricky, because what’s cool for the group chat might be totally inappropriate for your public feed, and that hysterical text exchange might get you in hot water when you screenshot it to your Insta.

Fortunately, we have solutions to keep you in good graces online—and also keep you feeling good about yourself. So do a few thumb stretches, then take our quiz to find out how to handle even the most awkward social media situations.

Your friend Hannah posts a hilarious joke and gets hundreds of likes. Problem is, you saw the exact same post on a popular meme account. You should:


A) Text Hannah to tell her stealing memes isn’t cool.

B) Comment, “Didn’t I see this on @WorldsBestMemes?” with a laughing emoji so she knows you’re teasing.

C) Enjoy the post. It’s not that big of a deal—everyone “borrows” memes, right?


Your best move: B or C. If Hannah ran a meme account for profit this would definitely be uncool. But if her account is just for fun, it’s probably fine to let it slide. That said, a lot of creativity goes into making you LOL. “It can be easy to forget there are real people behind funny memes,” says Chas Steinbrugge, a college freshman who runs the Insta account trigoMEMEtry. Chas coined the phrase “credit flexing” to encourage crediting memes’ creators. So don’t hesitate to set a good example by credit flexing whenever you post borrowed content—that goes for images too.

You won first place at the science fair. You’re incredibly proud— you worked on that experiment for weeks!—so you want to share the good news. Only thing is, a few of your friends had experiments in the competition too. You should:


A) Post about the award. It’s a well-deserved payoff for all your hard work!

B) Keep it off social media. It’s not worth making your friends feel worse.


Your best move: A. There’s no reason to hide your accomplishments—and owning them doesn’t automatically mean you’re bragging. It’s all about how you share. “Definitely be mindful about the #humblebrag,” says psychologist Goali Saedi Bocci. Don’t be over-the-top boastful, but don’t downplay the award either. After all, it might hurt your friends to see you act like winning was NBD. Instead, share credit where it’s due and give a shout out to all competitors. “Vulnerability, honesty, and authenticity win every time,” says Saedi Bocci.

Your group chat has you rolling this afternoon and you want to post a screenshot so everyone can see how witty and amusing you and your friends are. Your best option is to:


A) Post it and tag your friends.

B) Check with everyone first.

C) Skip it altogether.


Your best move: B. Even if you guys weren’t talking about anything scandalous or personal, you never know what your friends might want to keep off social media. Maybe one of your besties is more private than you are, or maybe your wickedly sarcastic friend will come across as plain mean to people who don’t know him as well as you do. It’s also possible the joke will seem less funny out of context to people who aren’t in your friend group. Avoid any unforeseen fallout and check in with everyone involved before sharing with the world. (Red flag alert: If you’re nervous about getting permission to post, that’s a sign you should keep the screenshot to yourself.)

Your friend Amanda posts a cute photo of herself. When you go to like it, you notice that a classmate of yours, Paul, left an inappropriate comment about Amanda’s body. Amanda has shut down Paul’s advances before, but he doesn’t seem to be getting the message. You should:


A) Reach out to Amanda to make sure she’s OK.

B) Report the comments as harassment through the app.

C) Reply to Paul’s comment, “That’s gross, knock it off.”

D) Ask Amanda if she wants your help talking to an adult at school about Paul’s behavior.


Your best move: Any of the above but definitely A. Sexual harassment often takes the form of unwanted messages and comments online, so if you think Amanda’s feeling uncomfortable, it’s worth checking in. You can take things a step further by calling out inappropriate behavior, reporting comments, or involving a trusted adult who can help you intervene. “A bystander who wants to be an upstander should do what is most comfortable for them,” says Sameer Hinduja, a cyberbullying and social media expert. “But no matter what, people who witness cyberbullying should check in with the target and offer to help.”

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Skills Sheets (6)
Skills Sheets (6)