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Netiquette: 5 Must-Follow Rules for the Holidays

We're in the middle of the holiday season and whether you've been naughty or nice this year, there are still some basic rules of netiquette to adhere to.
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We're in the middle of the holiday season and whether you've been naughty or nice this year, there are still some basic rules of netiquette to adhere to.

So without further digital adieu, let's brush up on your digital manners with these five rules to remember.

1. e-Invitations. Whether you've received an evite, email or, my latest favorite, PaperlessPost, remember the party invitation was sent to you, not to your extended friends. Please don't forward them to anyone. Your host won't be happy with digital crashers knocking on their door.

2. Table Netiquette. As a child, you may remember the saying, '"Mable, Mable, if you're able, keep your elbows off the table." It's time for a digital facelift on this famous game. Remember to keep your mobile phone off the table at a holiday party. Texting and tweeting is rude towards your host and the other guests in attendance. If you must send a text to someone, walk into another room and do so in private. The same rule holds true for placing a phone call. Don't disturb the other guests and excuse yourself from the room so they don't have to listen to your phone conversation.

3. Posting Party Photos. If you've been to a holiday luncheon or party and know that some of your BFFs were not invited, it's best to avoid posting photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. If you can't resist the urge to share, make sure your caption is generic.

Writing "December memories" or "lunch with the girls" would be better to post instead of "Nancy's Christmas party." Facebook isn't the place to hurt someone's digital feelings. If you still aren't sure if you should post the photos, then you should trust your intuition and take a pass. Send them to your friends in a private email attachment or on Picasa or Flickr.

4. Gift Netiquette and Bragging. Whether you get coal in your stocking, or a fancy diamond ring, remember that gift-giving is personal. If you post photos of lavish gifts, it falls in the department of digital bragging. Sure you're excited that you got engaged, but do you need to say it was a $25,000 diamond from Tiffany's? Remember that finances are tough for many and exploiting your fancy gifts breaks the rules of netiquette.

5. Thank-You Notes. Whether you received your party invitation via email or are in a rush to thank someone for a gift, it's fine to thank him or her in an email. However, the added touch of personalizing a thank you note with a stamp sent via U.S. mail will never go out of style.

At the end of the digital day, remember to treat others the way you'd like to be treated, both online and offline. If you wouldn't post it or say it in real life, adhere to the same rules of netiquette online.

Julie Spira is a relationship and netiquette expert and the author of The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web. Follow her on Twitter @JulieSpira and at

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