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Why is social etiquette so different online?

For the past few years, I’ve been quite active on social media. In my last role as an employee, social media management was a key part of my role.

These days, I use social media alongside my blog. I also regard blogging as quite a social thing in itself.

My main network for the blog is Twitter, but I use Google plus as well. More recently I’ve started up a Facebook page and an Instagram account.

All very dull I know, but I wanted to give you a bit of context.

Because here’s the thing. If somebody takes the time to read my blog and leave a comment, I always reply. If that person has a blog of their own, I make a point of reading it and leaving them a comment too.

The same goes for twitter and Instagram, if someone follows me, I follow back. Unless they are either selling something I don’t agree with or their account seems a bit spammy. I always reply to tweets and comments. Sadly, I think I do miss some when notifications are coming thick and fast, but I try not to.

On Facebook I find it a bit harder, I always respond to comments but can’t always find people’s blog pages to like if they have liked mine. But I do try.

And quite frankly, I expect the same in return. Not because I’m bothered about how many people follow me, like my page or comment on my blog. But because I think its common courtesy.

If someone spoke to me in the street and I ignored them, I would be rude. Why is it any different online?

I know its different for celebrities, and even perhaps for some of the more popular bloggers. They can’t respond to everyone. But for me, it’s just common courtesy.

I do unfollow people who don’t follow back, or who don’t reply to me on any medium. I genuinely believe that this whole process should be a two way street, just like everyday life.

I believe that if someone takes an interest in me, it is common courtesy to return the favour. And if someone doesn’t have any interest in my drivel that’s fine, but don’t expect me to stick around to hear all about what you had for dinner.

One of the things I love about working from home is that I don’t have to go into the office every day. In fact, on many days my office has a view like this.

2015-04-18 13.16.33


I don’t have to socialise either, and quite frankly I rarely miss it. In fact, I am probably the least sociable person I know. 

And yet the social niceties of everyday life don’t completely pass me by, and when I’m online I can’t help but feel that they still apply. 

I know that not everyone will be with me on this, so I’d love to hear your point of view, especially if you disagree. 



  1. April 18, 2015 / 9:34 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! I am a newbie blogger, just finding my feet and learning as I go. I have found some lovely helpful bloggers commenting and stuff, and then some snubbing me. As tho I’m stepping on their toes. Rude!

    • April 18, 2015 / 9:57 pm

      That’s terrible. I feel even worse when people do that to new bloggers. I look forward to checking out your blog over the next few days.x

  2. April 18, 2015 / 9:40 pm

    I’m with you 100% on this and to be honest it’s been bugging me slightly recently so am pleased to see that you’ve let the rant out.

    If someone flows me I follow back. Unless as you state that there is a valid reason not to. I usually, unless I’m having a busy twitter day say thanks for the follow. And try to respond to every tweet I get. Unless the conversation has ended.

    One thing that bugs me with twitter is that there’s this follow/unfollowed thing going on. It’s like being at school again. Don’t bother following me to get me to follow you so you get a chance to unfollow me later so you can say you have x number of followers.

    Take a moment to actually do something and interact with people.

    That in itself though I know is tough! I have almost a 1000 followers and I know that I barely interact with even a quarter of them. I do have my ‘favourites’ that I interact regularly with or that I read their blog regularly. But saying that it doesn’t stop me from strolling down a feed and seeing a tweet and commenting on it. But like you it angers me that they ignore it or even in a feed cut you out. Why? It’s just plain rude!

    I love blogging and the community. I would have had a chance to socialise online with lovely people like yourself. But there are aspects of it that reminds me why I don’t socialise much in real life. There’s circles of friends, clicks, gender stereotypes and even class types. Some days I don’t care and do what I do because I enjoy it. Other days I get cross and just unfollowed. But either way I don’t tend to play the game’

    It definitely puts the concept of it being ‘social media’ as a wonder.

    But that all being said some would say that because I interact with you or others regularly on it that I have my groups and clicks and limit interaction with others. Which .sure would come across as rude to them.

    The big question then is where does socialising or being rude begin and end when you have such a large community of people.

    Sorry about the rant back. But of those days where your post kinda of made me go “yeah, why is it different. Those rude people” 😉

    • April 18, 2015 / 9:54 pm

      Thank you Martyn, and you made me realise I missed out the part about the cliques. Oh my word that’s so annoying, and just like school! I enjoy interacting with you on social media and reading your blog. 🙂

  3. April 18, 2015 / 9:41 pm

    I have been trying to be more social lately, I’m really rubbish at it normally but I think a lot of the blogs I used to read aren’t what I read now and I was in this strange limbo. So I didn’t comment or share anything anywhere but I am hoping to be one of the nice ones who follow/like/share and join in again now – but I try to use Sunday’s to catch up on blog comments! Instagram is my challenge really, I hope I manage to ‘like’ things in return but also want to only leave a heart on things I actually like and not in return for another like… If that makes sense!
    Good post, it’s nice to be nice and social online if you ask me. You get what you give, but it’s hard to not let something slip through the net. Xx

    • April 18, 2015 / 9:51 pm

      Oh I totally agree re Instagram, I follow back but only like pictures that I actually genuinely like. Thank you for your comment, I look forward to reading your latest post too 🙂

  4. Ninja cat
    April 18, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    You don’t have to
    Like everyone but so many people need a boot up
    The backside . Being pleasant never killed anyone and I know the world is a busy please ~ but I try to respond to 99% of those who talk to me .
    I know people ignore people but if someone is making the effort then a response is nice.

    • April 18, 2015 / 9:58 pm

      I couldn’t agree more Claire, and I agree the world is busy. But not too busy to make time for people, surely? Actually, you are the best person I know at being social on Twitter 🙂

  5. April 18, 2015 / 10:28 pm

    Brilliant post! Had a really interesting chat about this on #mblogchat last night and I feel a lot of people think the same. I try to be philosophical – certainly not everyone will dig my jam or have the same aims so I try not to dwell. I do hope bloggers keep addressing this because there’s stuff I do out of stupidity rather than rudeness x

    • April 18, 2015 / 10:42 pm

      Yes I get that Charlene, I am sure that I miss comments and tweets sometimes, we ask do. It’s great that you had the conversion with others already though, I hope if more of us are aware of it then we’ll be able to turn it around. Thank you for commenting.x

  6. April 18, 2015 / 10:40 pm

    Oh I totally agree Jessie and I have done the same. I remember reading the time to write a long comment on a popular blog once and they didn’t even bother to approve it, let alone reply. Will I be reading it again? I think not. Thank you for commenting and I look forward to reading your next post.x

  7. April 19, 2015 / 9:54 am

    Thank you Ally. I am sure everyone absolutely understands when you can’t manage it, and we all miss tweets and comments anyway. It’s just making an effort that it important, and making people feel that they’re worthy of your time.x

  8. Izzie Anderton
    April 19, 2015 / 1:45 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! I always try to leave comments on blogs if someone’s kind enough to pop over and comment on mine as I think it’s a nice thing to do. I’m the same with blog hops and either take the time to comment on at least five posts or don’t add my link at all. I try to interact as much as possible on social media but don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. And I always try to share any posts that capture my imagination. Isn’t blogging all about sharing the love?

    • April 19, 2015 / 1:48 pm

      Thank you Izzie, I couldn’t agree more. Actually it has been really refreshing since discovering your blog because you are fabulous at keeping in touch and leaving me a comment, it’s lovely so thank you 🙂

      • Izzie Anderton
        April 19, 2015 / 3:36 pm

        Thank you lovely – you’re brilliant at this too! Wishing you a fabulous week x

        • April 19, 2015 / 3:59 pm

          Aw thank you Izzie 🙂 I hope you have a great week too. I have forgotten #WorcestershireHour the last two weeks, must remember tomorrow, see you there!x

  9. April 19, 2015 / 3:54 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Sometimes it might look like i don’t reply to comments but mostly it’s just that i don’t get round to doing it as quickly as others, but if you back on posts, mostly I reply, then i visit those bloggers and check out the recent post and comment. This is really missing from blogging now, i started 4 years ago and it was hard to get comments but once the effort was put in you were reward with comments coming your way, happy days! Linkies are a prime example, a lot of people dump their posts and run i’ve had [posts where i’ve made an effort to visit a number on a link up and probably 1 fellow blogger in the link up came back to comment on mine after i did theirs.
    I miss comments! x

    • April 19, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      Yeah I’ve found that the whole sharing the love thing has dwindled lately. I feel that people view each other as competitors more these days. Perhaps because most blogs are now monetised and there are only so many opportunities to go around, I’m not sure. I am also slow at replying to comments, and even slower at visiting other people’s blogs but I do get there eventually. I look forward to reading your latest post Hannah 🙂

  10. April 19, 2015 / 5:08 pm

    I certainly try to follow back and I’m pretty good about returning comments. I do miss some because I have busy feeds on some accounts and sometimes life just gets in the way. There are some people that don’t seem to try though and that annoys me.

    • April 19, 2015 / 5:16 pm

      I totally understand that Erica, we all miss some, we are only human after all. As you say, it’s the ones who don’t try that are rather annoying. I notice you a lot on Instagram Erica, it’s always reassuring because you’ve got such a popular blog and I’m always chuffed when you like my rather rubbish attempt at taking photos 😉

  11. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper
    April 20, 2015 / 9:13 am

    Oooh Natalie, this post really resonated with me! I ALWAYS reply to someone who’s taken the time to comment on my blog, especially if they’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it. During preschool holidays etc when my working days are shortened, it might take me a little longer, but I always get round to it. I just find it quite rude to be honest, if bloggers don’t.

    What also gets my goat is the people who also blatantly want to seem more popular on social media and the like by having loads of followers then whittling the ones they follow down to fewer. There’s someone (no names mentioned!) who I’ve met and chatted to a couple of times in real life, I’ve joined in with their linky loads, I’ve followed and commented on their Instagram, yet they still don’t follow me on IG, despite them often liking my photos! They have built their followers up to a couple of K, but seem to want to look better by only following a couple of hundred. It sounds petty, but I just don’t join in their linky anymore, as I find it quite rude.

    I’m not normally that cheesed off by things, but I find it sad that some bloggers are highly competitive and have that playground mentality that they’ll look better if they have lots of followers, but not them following many people back.

    I just think we should all support each other more!

    • April 20, 2015 / 1:32 pm

      Ah Becky, thank you so much for your comment. I also take a while to get around to replying sometimes, but I always get there in the end! I totally agree with you on the social media thing. I have also had the same issue on IG with a blogger who did just the same to me. I unfollowed pretty quickly because I agree with you, it’s rude. I know what you mean about it being competitive, if we supported each other more, we would all get along better.x

  12. April 20, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    I’m going to go against the grain and disagree. I simply do not have the time to reply to every single email, comment, twitter follow, facebook comment etc and I don’t think it’s comparable to ignoring someone on the street: it takes a split second to say “hi” back to someone, but it definitely takes longer than that to think of something worth typing out.

    It was easier and I did it more when I too worked at home – and I’m absolutely not trying to devalue home workers’ time here – but now my time is split between full time work, part time freelancing, 2 kids on my own, fitness (for the sake of my mental health if nothing else) etc my priority is rarely returning a comment or twittering “thanks for the follow” on twitter etc. That’s not a request for a pity party because look at me I’m so busy, more just a reflection on how I choose to spend my time I guess.

    I’ve probably lost followers and readers because of it and I accept that as a consequence but I’m not going to lose sleep over it (get precious little of that as it is! ;))

    • April 20, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Thank you for sharing Jem, it’s interesting to hear your point of view. I am in a very similar position to you in that I both work and look after my children without the help of childcare, as well as trying to keep fit. I totally agree that it’s personal choice as to how you spend your time, but I would rather write less blog posts and take the time to let people know that I value the time they have taken to read my blog, comment or acknowledge me on social media. I hate to think that someone might feel that they are not worthy of my time just because I didn’t get around to acknowledging them, nobody deserves to feel like that. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog, I really appreciate it.x

      • April 24, 2015 / 7:57 am

        If I wrote less posts I’d never blog at all 😉

        • April 24, 2015 / 8:03 am

          Well that would be a shame, I really enjoy reading your blog, please don’t stop!x

  13. April 20, 2015 / 9:07 pm

    I really love this! Agree with absolutely everything and always reply to comments and thank for RT’s. Am going to make sure I am following you on Twitter now and say hi 🙂 x

    • April 20, 2015 / 9:27 pm

      Aw thank you Katy, that’s really kind of you. And I’m glad you agree, I look forward to your tweets 🙂

  14. Jonathan
    April 24, 2015 / 8:06 am

    I don’r entirely agree with the twitter following people who follow you. I follow accounts I want to see tweets from. Some of the people who follow me are in industries I don’t know much about, who don’t tweet much, or who tweet mostly personal things, such as what they had for lunch.

    I always look, but unless from their history they are likely to have something I want to read every now and again I will not follow them. If you follow everyone, potentially interesting messages get lost in the streams.

    I don’t equate a follow with a conversation. It’s more like a random passerby stopping for a moment to listen in. However, I will always reply to messages, and if someone takes the time to mention or message me I almost always follow them.

    • April 24, 2015 / 9:16 am

      Thank you Jonathan. I am inclined to agree to an extent. I don’t follow if I think the account is a bit spammy or in a sector I don’t agree with (e.g. disposable nappy companies follow me as a parent but I don’t agree with the principle of sending waste to landfill unnecessarily so I don’t follow back). It’s more from the point of view of a blogger really – we all like to think that people want to hear what we’ve got to say, so I think it’s rude when another blogger doesn’t follow back. Thanks very much for taking the time to comment, it’s really interesting to get a different perspective on it.

  15. May 4, 2015 / 7:44 am

    I so agree to this so many bloggers are just rude. I have found some of the bigger bloggers so lovely and helpful and always follow / comment back. But some of the lesser known ones think there it and just ignore you when you try and talk to them and act as if your irreverent. These are also the bloggers that I see popping up on Facebook always asking for contacts for stuff to review so I avoid them now as they are just plain rude. Xx

    • May 4, 2015 / 10:51 am

      Yes, I guess some people in whatever walk of life just feel that society owes them something. Quite sad really. Great that there are so many nice bloggers out there too though.xx

  16. May 5, 2015 / 9:12 pm

    As you’ll see from the date, I’m always late at commenting and replying to comments (as I’ve said before I really do need a day between Saturday and Sunday) but, it’s important to let someone know that when they’ve taken the time to share something you’ve appreciated it.

    I’m struggling with Twitter at the moment as I just can’t find an app that can cope with having more than 50 followers. I set up lists and they all still miss tweets. Perhaps I should have kept personal and blog Twitter separate?

    I stopped joining lots of linkies because there really aren’t enough hours in the day to blog and have a proper job and have a dog that’s always at the vets and a me that’s always at the doctors! If I know I can’t visit others in the link I don’t join in. My personal pet peeve is linky hosts who don’t bother visiting their linkers! Just rude.

    Having said that, the rudest comment I’ve ever had online was from a person I knew in real life – she’d never talk like that to my face so I don’t know why she thought it was OK to type it!

    I hope you’re pleased you’ve made us all a bit ranty! 😉 x

    • May 5, 2015 / 9:17 pm

      Haha this made me laugh, thanks Lisa. If you manage to insert an extra day between Saturday and Sunday, please let me know the formula, I need one too!!x

  17. May 29, 2015 / 12:01 am

    Totally agree with this!!! I thought blogging was this big, friendly, all inclusive community… Turns out I was wrong! I always try to follow back, reply etc etc – sometimes I do miss odd notifications – but quite often get ignored! I soon got bored of commenting on certain bloggers tweets as they would reply to others and ignore me- just common courtesy I thought! Very clicky this blogging world haha! xx

    • May 29, 2015 / 5:36 am

      Absolutely Emma, there are some who are lovely and will always reply and interact, those are the ones whose blogs I end up reading and commenting on.xx

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