Social media has come so, so far in the last few years. Of course the more we use something, the more comfortable we become with it. This can be good and bad.
Since social media can be so social (all your friends in one place!) and so isolated (you, alone, behind a computer screen) at the same time, I thought it was a good time to point out a few things that people seem to be forgetting about.
Presenting… my list of 5 common courtesies to extend to your online family:
1. Don’t tag bomb. Waking up to 76 Facebook (or Twitter) notifications (or even worse, emails for all of those notifications) because someone decided to tag you and your 100 closest friends in a Facebook comment, photo, or status update isn’t cool. In addition to clogging the inbox and notification feeds of those you tag, you’re causing them to miss notifications from people who are close to them. You’re also making them sift through the entire status update and the comments below to see if someone tagged them because they were being nice and paying a compliment, asking a question, or, of course-tag bombing. I think a good rule to follow is that if someone doesn’t see and comment on your status update, assume they have other things going on that day. If you need direct feedback from someone, send them a message.
2. Asking a favor? Provide a link. Though this mostly applies to bloggers, there are times I have been asked to vote for a friend in a contest and no link has been provided. Saying, “go find this page and look for the contest” isn’t cutting it. If you’re asking me to do a favor for you, 99% of the time I will happily comply. However, if you don’t provide a link you have turned a 10 second favor into one that causes me to search for what you’re talking about to help you. Please provide links when you ask for favors.
3. Don’t “vaguebook.” Just as you wouldn’t enter a room full of friends and say, “I just received the worst news of my life. Please keep my family in your thoughts.” or “Best Day EVER!!!” without elaborating about the situation, don’t do that on Facebook. It’s rude, and definitely more fitting of a private message. The same rules of person-to-person conversation apply to social media.
4. Think twice before sharing. When you “like” that inappropriate picture that was posted by ___________ (enter horribly inappropriate page name here)–you know, the one that shows a half naked woman with a degrading comment across her chest? I can see that. And when you share the status update from the inappropriately named page or website, I can see that. I don’t want to know that my friend’s husband likes and shares content from a page named… well, you can imagine. Here’s a quick example of what I’m talking about, from the post I wrote about this subject:
5. Remember that ALL of your followers see your posts. Though you may only interact with the same 25 or so people online, don’t forget that everyone can see what you post (unless you have changed your privacy settings). When you complain about your college roommate who you friended last year (even if you forgot that you friended her!), she can see it! When you post an update complaining about your children, and your next update talks about how you’re opening an in-home daycare, don’t be confused when nobody signs up.
As a mentor to new bloggers, I sometimes see enthusiastic people breaking the rules under the guise of shameless self-promotion. Bloggers are on the front lines of social media, and we really need to be watchful of our etiquette. Are you making quality connections with both readers and other bloggers? Step back for a minute and think about these things I’ve recently seen bloggers do–are you being respectful of everyone’s time and energy?
- Sending a private message or tweet to all of your connections with a link to your new blog post (not a request for a critique or suggestions, just a link)
- Posting the same update/link in every Facebook group that you are a part of at the same time
- Asking other bloggers to subscribe to your blog
- Joining groups and conversations only to promote yourself
- Asking bloggers for their PR contacts. If you are friends with the blogger you are approaching (not Facebook friends–real friends) try this: “I’d love to work with ___. If you hear that they’re looking for other bloggers, I’d love for you to pass my name along.”
What am I missing? I’d love to know your thoughts about social media use right now.