London, June 13 : Confused about whether to 'poke' back on Facebook or if you should reject a friend on MySpace? Now Debrett's, a specialist publisher on manners and etiquette has come to your rescue with a guide on how to behave in these confusing, and sometimes awkward, new social situations.
The etiquette bible includes a new set of 'golden rules' to help young people politely navigate social networking sites.
The guide was made following a research by the telecoms company Orange. It showed that almost two thirds of social networkers are frustrated and confused by online etiquette.
During the research, the company found that more than a quarter were uncertain about how to respond to unwelcome 'pokes' or messages, with a further one in six wanting to know the etiquette for replying to a former lover when in a new relationship.
Jo Bryant, an etiquette adviser from Debrett's, said that that social networking sites were increasingly putting people in awkward situations.
"It can sometimes feel odd when someone who you don't necessary know asks you to be their friend. What do you do? You automatically feel like you should say yes but that can seem a bit weird because you don't actually know them," the Telegraph quoted her, as saying.
"The trend for social networking has made new demands on traditional etiquette. My advice is to play it safe, and always employ your usual good manners when online, treating others with kindness or respect.
"Social networking is meant to complement and enhance your existing social life, not complicate it," she added.
Mark Watts-Jones, the head of development and innovation at Orange, said: "Whether you are checking your Facebook profile on the move or posting photos of friends on MySpace at work, these guidelines will ensure you never lose old friends or make unwanted new ones."
The five rules for polite social networking are:
1. You don't have to make friends with people you don't know. It's not a competition to see how many friends you can get. Think before you poke.
2. Always wait for 24 hours before accepting or removing someone as a friend, for the delay will help you gather your thoughts.
3. Birthdays, engagements and weddings are not "virtual" events. Always send birthday cards or call your friends when there's important news.
4. Consider your friends' feelings before posting pictures. Put yourself in their shoes before uploading.
5. Think carefully about your profile picture. If you don't want to see it in your local newspaper, don't put it online.