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TECH NOW: How to mind your digital manners

phone private talkJennifer Jolly,
Special for USA TODAY

Do you have your smartphone attached like an external organ for most of your waking life, update Facebook like you're being paid for it, and check in on Twitter at least once per hour? If you answer yes, you're not alone, and while it's fine to be headoverheels with the digital age, you might be crossing the line of good taste in the process. There are hundreds — probably thousands — of unspoken social rules that we follow every day, but when it comes to smartphones and social networks, some people just don't understand where to draw the line.

Here are 10 annoying digital faux pas you might be committing every day.

1. Selfish Selfies

It's all well and good to get all snaphappy with yourself, but a stud out of Britain shows other people who see your bathroom mirror best on social media
sites — kind of hate it. The complaint? It's totally narcissistic and sends the message that you're shallow.

The fix: Post selfies sparingly.

2. The bathroom call

There's nothing more jarring than quietly and politely using a public restroom only to have someone suddenly scream "HELLO?!" from a neighboring stall.
Ignoring the fact that the echo is downright deafening, we really have no desire to relieve ourselves while being serenaded by the human megaphone just
a few feet away.

The fix: Flush away any thoughts of using a cell in a public restroom.

overshare phone3. Secret snark

You're sitting with a group of friends in a social setting and suddenly two of them start giggling at the private text conversation they've decided to start. Is it an inside joke? Are they making fun of ME? What could possibly be so important that it not only needed to be said right away, but also couldn't be said in front of the rest of the group? Nobody likes being left out, and this is the quickest way to alienate your peers in public.

The fix: If you have something to say, say it out loud — and, put your phone away.

4. Checkout courtesy

Cashiers have a hard enough time dealing with rude and cranky customers, so cut them a break and put your phone away when you're at the checkout. They don't want to hear your personal conversation any more than the rest of the customers behind you. Unless you're taking a call from the president, you need to slide that smartphone back into your pocket.

The fix: Put your phone away.

5. Tag! You're it!

Don't tag someone in a photo on Facebook, unless you have their permission. Facebook isn't a personal forum for you and your closest friends; it's a massive social space where people have connected with family and other loved ones. Your friends' closest family members, coworkers and other acquaintances don't need to know how "totally wasted" they were at that party last weekend, or how they lost a bet and had to streak through the mall. On that same note, never tag someone in a photo that they wouldn't want their family or boss to see. That's how friendships end.

The fix: Ask permission before you tag.

6. No, thank YOU!

If someone is going to follow you on Twitter, they don't need a personal greeting every time. Twitter isn't Facebook — where close friends connect and
chat — it's much more broad than that, so don't spam the inbox of all of your followers telling them how thankful you are.

The fix: Just keep posting funny updates or cat pictures, because that's why everyone follows you to begin with.

7. Private talk gone wild

Listening to people have private conversations in public places is awkward on its own, but listening to you shuffle through your playlist or play a round of Angry Birds while in an elevator or in a doctor's waiting room is just as bad. Keep your volume to a limit that only you can hear, or pop in a pair of earbuds, because the rest of us really don't care about your high score on Candy Crush Saga.

The fix: Tone it down already.

selfy selfie food8. Shameless self promotion

If you have a YouTube channel, Instagram account, or other media based profile, it's fine to let your friends know, but spamming everyone's Facebook wall every time you update your Tumblr is downright obnoxious. Not only is it not going to get you more attention, you might lose some digital friends in the process.

The fix: Share sparingly.

9. Alter egos

Unless you legally changed your name to Kristen "Totally Bummed Out" Johnson, or Adam "Swag King" Smith, it shouldn't be appearing on your Facebook profile. Your online identity should remain as static as possible so that others can find you, and the same goes for your Twitter handle. You don't need to use your real name on Twitter, but you need to at least be consistent. If you picked "PuffyPenguin42" you need to stick with it for longer than a week.

The fix: Save your alter egos for gaming.

10. Overshare overload

The first picture you posted of your baby was adorable. The second one was pretty cute, too. The 784th one makes me want to forget I know you. The same goes for photos of your lunch every day at 12:30. We care, just not as much as you seem to think we do. Push personal photos sparingly and we'll all get along just fine.

The fix: Same as number eight on this list, share sparingly.

Bonus: This one should be so obvious it doesn't need mentioning, but don't text while walking or you might fall into a fountain. What netiquette issues, or digital manner don'ts drive you crazy?

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY's digital video show TECH NOW. Email
her at Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferJolly.

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