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Etiquette for a digital world

Minding your manners used to be a pretty straightforward directive, like, "Finish your vegetables" or "Take out the trash," but times are changing -- most notably, with the addition of mobile technology and social networks, according to Peggy Post, etiquette guru Emily Post's great-granddaughter.

So how do you brave this new world with courtesy?

Post, co-author of the 18th edition of "Etiquette: Manners for a New World," said you should start with what you contribute online.

"This is all wonderful, social networks are great, but so many people text or send a message, put up a picture, without thinking. The biggest mistake is putting something there and then you can't get it back. It's out there. It's not confidential, obviously, even if you stop your Facebook account, it's already there," she said.

Post says it's important to remember that people will see what you put up online.

"Don't post a friend's photo on Facebook that's going to embarrass him or her," she said. "Think about what you do. Don't just blast somebody. Try to be civil on whether it's Facebook or Twitter or whatever."

When talking about Facebook, in particular, Post says it's OK to "defriend" someone. But how do you do it gracefully?

"You ignore whatever they've sent you," she said. "Then after a while, the person's friend list can go down."

But does that work with break-ups?

Post said, "What I say don't do is break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend or your ex by way of Facebook. That's a face to face or at least a verbal encounter."

"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill remarked, "It's really bad if what you do is change your Facebook status and you're waiting for them to realize you're no longer together."

On Facebook, Post said it's OK to delete your own comments or "untag" photos if you have regrets about the content.

"Have a conversation with your friend(s) who might be putting those pictures up, also," Post said.

What about when you're out with friends or family, is it ever OK to have your mobile device present?

Post said, "You're on-call, your wife is about to have a baby, you might put it there. You're a doctor on-call. But be discreet. Put it down low. Excuse yourself. Texting at the table drives people crazy. Think about the people you're with."

For more on the changes to etiquette - as seen in "Etiquette: Manners for a New World," read an excerpt from now (pdf).

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