forms of communication, one must now also have fluency with digital social skills. Given that the etiquette of digital communication is relatively new, namely using text messages, email, Facebook, twitter, and other on-line forums, it can sometimes be difficult to know what is and is not appropriate to say in a digital forum. Knowing the “right thing to say” in a text conversation, on Facebook, and especially on dating sites can be quite challenging for anyone, let alone for those folks that live with social anxiety, and/or Asperger's Syndrome.
Furthermore, as aptly pointed out in the WSJ article below, some may run into problems with their friends and family when others are not clear on the ground rules of the various digital communications of choice. As this particular article points out for example, some people may prefer phone conversations to briefer text messages and may feel that they are not important to the person that prefers text messages. Others, who may prefer to text, may feel annoyed and bothered if their partner or friend insists on having long telephone conversations. Finally, we all know how frustrating it can be to maintain a conversation with someone who is constantly on their phone, checking Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Unfortunately, since the rules of digital social etiquette are ever evolving, it may be quite difficult to break them down into concrete, tangible guidelines. Likewise, given the lack of emotional information in these digital communications, it can often be challenging to truly understand the emotional tone of a message, unless of course there already is an established text language between the communicators, and even then one can get into trouble with the messages being taken out of context or misread. While using emoticons can certainly provide the participants of the conversation with added affective information to the written message, there are nonetheless certain rules to using even these seemingly innocuous digital characters.
Yet as the world becomes more and more digitized, how one comes across to others on various digital exchanges becomes increasingly more important. The good news is that while many people may struggle with any type of social interactions, digital communications appear to be easier for those who get anxious and/or uncomfortable in face-to-face interactions. Furthermore, like verbal and nonverbal in-person social skills, with enough patience, effort and time, digital social skills can certainly be explained, taught and practiced. There are also a number of resources and websites that offer some basic rules to certain kinds of digital etiquette.
Please see the links below for some helpful resources.