10 social media sins that every adult should avoid

Modern technology is a life-enhancing thing. It's also potentially a huge pain in the digital derrière. 

Tweet-happy President Trump and his team are particularly prone to social media faux pas, whether failing to spell-check "unpresidented", or agreeing with articles on satirical news site The Onion without realising they're spoofs.

Meanwhile, crooner James Blunt and author JK Rowling have been hailed for their witty taming of Twitter trolls.

It's such a minefield that style bible Vogue has been moved to publish a "modern girl's guide to social media etiquette".

However, this mainly revolves around self-promotion and the dreaded "selfie", so here are our own 10 easy steps for midlifers trying to navigate social media.

1. Don't be a food bore

Posting occasional photos of your impressive slow-cooked stew or Bake Off-worthy cake on Facebook or Instagram is fine, if a tad show-offy, especially if you've "accidentally" edged a  Wüsthof knife or Le Creuset dish into shot dish into shot. Tedious conversations with your partner about what you're having for supper should be restricted to texts, where nobody else can see you've got "a glut of aubergines that need using up".

2. Avoid political arguments

Express an opinion about Trump and words like "fascist" will be flung around. Venture your Brexit views and before you know it, everyone's calling each other "Remoaners" and "racists". You'll never win, it could turn nasty and to the casual observer, you come over as an over-opinionated loon.

3. Ditch the unfunny humblebrag

Attempting to self-deprecatingly undercut your smug trip to the opera with "Thought we'd get off the sofa and swap the box set for something more highbrow lol" doesn't work. We know full well you're still boasting. Don't even get us started on the running and cycling brigade.

4. Double-check your recipient list

The equivalent of accidentally hitting "reply all" on an email. So when you're date-wrangling over a villa-sharing holiday, confirm who's on the "to" list before you unintentionally slate someone's husband in public for being an "officious idiot.


5. Use hashtags and emojis sparingly

You're not 12.

6. Beware of cut-and-paste

That way, you will avoid an Ed Balls snafu. When he was shadow chancellor and wanted to see what was being said about him on Twitter, he typed his name into the "compose" box instead of the "search" one, so accidentally sent out his own name. This Luddite bungle is still celebrated on "Ed Balls Day" every April 28 and it has taken a stint on Strictly to restore his reputation. A similar butterfingered bungle was recently made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who accidentally tweeted "n9y25ah7", which is almost certainly his password to something important.

7. Never drag domestics online

Sniping at your spouse on Twitter ("Busy, are we?") or making subtle digs about your children being "too busy gallivanting to visit" on Facebook isn't a good look. It's also what talking on the telephone is for. Remember that?

8. Social media is not a search engine

Can anyone recommend a good hotel or tradesman? Is the train strike still on? What's the weather going to be like this weekend? Google it.

9. Don't be a whinger

Cryptic posts of the "Some people aren't worthy of a place in your heart" variety. Moans about failed parcel deliveries. Rants about other drivers cutting you up or shoddy customer service at Ikea... Save them for friends and family, rather than inflicting it on distant acquaintances who'll just think you're a sook.

10. Put. The. Phone. Down.

We've all rolled our eyes at the party guest tapping away to strangers while ignoring those actually in the room. Be present, be polite and put the pesky mobile away.

The Telegraph, London