We've all been put in sticky cyber situations.

Your boss wants to be your friend on Facebook and you're slightly concerned that your daily profile status reflecting your increasing despair at your job may offend him slightly.

Or you are flicking through some rather racy pics of your mate's birthday and are not sure how much editing to do before exposing his cross dressing tendencies to the world.

Well - worry not - the arbiter of all things good-mannered and decent that is Debrett's has published the rules for "sociable social networking".

It offers advice on everything from posting photographs, to removing someone as a friend and "poking".

The guide came about after research from Orange revealed almost two-thirds of social networkers are flummoxed as to how they should be behaving online.

More than a quarter said they 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, is sympathetic: "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 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."

So here are Debrett's "golden rules" for polite social networking:

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.

Always wait 24 hours before accepting or removing someone as a friend. The delay will help you gather your thoughts.

Birthdays, engagements and weddings are not "virtual" events. Always send birthday cards or call your friends when there’s important news.

Consider your friends' feelings before posting pictures. Put yourself in their shoes before uploading.

Think carefully about your profile picture. If you don't want to see it in your local newspaper, don't put it online.