As the British aristocracy’s etiquette bible goes digital, never be rude online again

Pro tip: don’t try to take a selfie with the Queen.
Pro tip: don’t try to take a selfie with the Queen.
Image: Reuters/Peter Macdiarmid/Pool
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Should you be posting that selfie? And is poking your friend on Facebook just harmless fun?

For those who need help navigating the social grace minefield on social media, Debrett’s, dedicated to maintaining British etiquette since 1769, is moving its fight for decorum into the digital age and has launched its first digital-etiquette class to help teenagers mind their manners online.

Dubbed as “social netiquette,” a special Coming of Age course helps teenagers manage their reputation and understand the impact of social media. Debrett’s asks whether you or your friends would be happy with unflattering drunken photos posted online (probably not). And discourages people from annoying friends with pokes on Facebook—if you want to get someone’s attention, just pick up the phone and give them a call. (This despite the fact that kids today don’t make telephone calls.)

Teens are also advised to think carefully about the people they choose to add as friends online and warned against creating an unrealistic online profile. “The whole digital movement is such an important part of our lives that only a fool would let it be an after thought,” said James Field, the training manager at Debrett’s, told The Telegraph. “Quite often an online profile is the first impression someone will have of us. It’s important to have a look at how we come across online.”

The course is part of a new Debrett’s & Tatler School of Etiquette launching in posh Mayfair in London:

A day course—aimed at people aged 13-16 and costing around $1,145 (£750) each—also has classes ranging from attending events and network to navigating personal relationships.