It seems like there is a new social networking site every week. Just when I’ve mastered Facebook, everyone is talking about Twitter. It’s tough to keep up with it all. As a friend so aptly expressed, ‘This interweb twitblog thingy is confusing.’

It may be generational. I’m 43; my nieces and nephews introduced me to Facebook. Because I am a long-distance aunt, I loved being able to learn about their lives and watch them grow up via Facebook…until my nephew said I was ‘Facebook stalking.’ (I later learned that this slang does not necessarily imply stalking in the literal sense, but rather keeping up with friends’ activities by reading their Facebook pages.)

I enjoy getting in touch with old friends from high school and college. But I also have ‘friend’ requests from people I knew but with whom I didn’t associate in high school. They were not a part of my life then; why should I share my vacation photos with them now? How does one politely decline a friend request? And what if a colleague wants to ‘friend’ you? Do they need to see your current relationship status, or the silly comment you made about a friend’s party?

This week, Julie Stauffer brings us the first in her three-part series on etiquette for social networking media, starting us off with Facebook and LinkedIn. Forthcoming articles will discuss Twitter, blogging, and, yes, email (some people still need reminders).