Back when Social Media mainly consisted of Chatrooms, Myspace, my blog was on Xanga and Facebook had yet to become a major player; I had a professor tell a class that I was in, that we had to decide what our online voice would look like.
How would we conduct ourselves?
What were our rules of engaging?
He insisted that at some point in the future, potential jobs would look to our social media presentation of ourselves to decide if we would indeed be a good addition to their company/organization.
He stressed how much it mattered how we presented ourselves online… I remember very little from that class, but that discussion has stood out to me for 10+ years.
Fast-forward to today.
Social media can get exhausting.
There is a never ending plethora of soap boxes, opinions, emotions, facts, “facts”, images, politics blah blah blah blah.
But, let’s be honest, there’s also puppies, funny memes, jokes, beautiful pictures, interesting things, movie/tv show trailers, touching stories, actually keeping in touch with all of life’s ups and downs, and great conversations…
There is connection and a real sense of community when social media is done right and well.
However, let’s be real here, it can all get overwhelming and exhausting trying to wade through it all.
I have been thinking a lot lately about Social media etiquette, and how SO many people seem to not have pre-decided rules for engaging… Likely because they have just never thought of it before.
Here are some suggestions for rules of engagement, some do’s and don’ts to consider:
~Is your post Inclusive or Selfish? – Meaning, does it encourage community and engaging or is it “look at me” or “listen to me” selfish style.
~If your post is not inclusive, how can you change it to be more engaging and involving of others? – Trust me, make that change.
Stop Doing These Things:
~Never post when you’re angry… As in, just don’t do it.
~Never respond or debate when you’re angry.. You will be incapable of communicating clearly.
~Debate in general. Stop debating on social media. – Your pride becomes more important than the person you are debating with. – Knock it off because your “rightness” will never be realized by the other person.
~Everyone gets sucked into debates now and then.. it happens to the best of us. – But for real, let’s all just stop it and move back to in-person debates if they are necessary.
~We (errrbody) are all tired of the soap box rants. – Stop telling people on the digital stage what you think about polarizing topics… Not. Helpful. and definitely not insightful.
~ Stop sharing inappropriate things that you wouldn’t show or say in proper settings (or show/say to your grandma).
In fact, let’s just all agree to stop posting when we have any dramatic emotion other than happy… Avoid. Abort. Delete.
Can We Just All Do More:
~Posting of things that are funny, inclusive, brings people into conversation and digital community.
~Share loving things, encouraging things, interesting things, helpful things, funny things.. Good things.
~Puppies and kitties – These are great, when in doubt: cute it up.
~Funny/ridiculous/embarrassing personal stories that show your life isn’t perfect! – No really, these types of posts would make the world a better place for all of us.
So much of what is now “acceptable Social Media engagement” has replaced communication that is actually supposed to be done in a personal face to face conversation.
People are saying and posting things that they have no business sharing with your cousin’s best friend’s mom because it happened to be liked or commented on by a mutual friend or two.
Things are said that would be considered with much more wisdom “in real life” if that person was sitting in front of them.
Feelings are disregarded too easily online because we can’t see the facial expression of the person we are interacting with… We actually care less and love them less. Basically meaning, we fail.
Keep in mind, this is just my opinion…. like everything else online: Consider and take it, leave it, share it, take parts and leave other parts… But, for the love, please consider something new for your rules of engagement!
It is time we ALL re-assess our rules for online engagement.
So, what are your rules of engagement?
How are you intentionally creating your digital voice and presentation of self?
What are you doing to add to or detract from the online world?
Do you say things on social media that draws people into community or are you saying things that more closely resembles reality TV?
Take some time and consider what your social media etiquette should be and how you should/n’t engage.