Over the past few weeks, Social Media (Blogs, FaceBook, Twitter) has been in the prime-time news. Some of it is good news, but several times its been not-so-good news. And primarily because someone tweeted something which upset / hurt / offended someone else, someone blogged an article without giving credit to whom it was due, a FaceBook update which did not go well with the general public opinion. And what followed was arguments, anger, negativity, criticism
As I reflect on some of these events, I honestly believe several of them could easily be avoided if basic Social Media Etiquette is followed. Probably basic life lessons you learned in KinderGarden, but somehow forgot along the journey to adulthood…
In this post, I am listing the Most Important Lessons of Social Media Etiquette – be it blogs, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.
Lesson 1: Be HONEST, Don’t LIE
Ever heard of “Honesty is the BEST POLICY“. Well it applies to Social Media as well. So be TRUE, Be HONEST and Don’t LIE. If you are not comfortable expressing your true opinion on a specific topic on Social Media, then Don’t Say anything. Be QUIET – which is OK. If you don’t know something, then its again OK to not say anything. But don’t LIE! The thing about lies is you get caught sometime somehow – Trust me on this!
Lesson 2: Give Credit where its DUE, Don’t STEAL
Again ever heard of “Don’t take things that don’t belong to you, and if you have to borrow then at least let the owner know!“. Well it applies to Social Media as well. So don’t STEAL others content on Social Media (blogs, Tweets, views, etc.) . If you do want to use / quote an article published by someone else, give a reference to the original content and acknowledge the author. (I’ve personally experienced cases of people publishing my blogs on their own blogs without any link or reference – And trust me! It feels awful. After all anyone who publishes content has put significant time, thought and effort into it. Just ask yourself how you would feel if someone walked into your house and walked out with your belongings – clothes, accessories, money, etc. Well its the same when you “STEAL” others content on Social Media). So make it a point to give credit where its DUE. Not only does it build your own credibility as someone who reads others content, but also acknowledges their efforts. And you also build your own social media networks by connecting to other authors – Trust me these relationships are worth more than stealing content and trying to pass it off as your own!
Lesson 3: Think before you WRITE
Anyone who wished you well always said “Think before you say or do anything.” Well it applies to Social Media as well. Before you write anything, think about the best way you can articulate your thoughts / views / opinions. Most of the Social Media errors happen because people don’t think before they write. If you are stressed, emotionally low / high, drunk, angry, upset, depressed… suggest you don’t write on Social Media till you feel more in control of your thoughts / emotions OR just write for yourself and don’t publish. Impulsive writing can sometimes bring out the best creativity in people, but it has to be when your thoughts / emotions are stable and balanced.
Lesson 4: Review before you PUBLISH
When you were in school, your parents and teachers always said “Check you answer sheet once before you turn it in“. Well it applies for Social Media as well. Before you publish anything (on Blog, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.) review it once with a calm mind. The reason being that many times we write things which we don’t really mean, we write things which can be (mis)interpreted in many different ways; and more importantly we are human and hence can possibly make errors. So do a self-review before you publish any content on Social Media.
Lesson 5: Be “GOOD”
The last point is “Be GOOD” on Social Media – To those you know, to those you don’t know.. To those with whom you agree, to those with whom you don’t agree. The fact is that the real world has its share of “Good and Bad” – Both as a part of our everyday lives, and as a part of the world in general. And there is also more negativity than positivity all around – Death, Terror, Loss, Lies, Infidelity, Anxiety, Fear, Uncertainty, Stress – They are all integral to our lives.
And so for many of us, Social Media is a welcome escape, a mini-dream-land. To connect with people who think like us, To connect with people we know, To connect with people we want to know, To connect with people who inspire us.
And the fact is that we all like to feel “GOOD”, especially on Social Media. And how do you feel GOOD? By reading GOOD stuff – Content which makes you smile, laugh, gives you hope, inspires you, motivates you, helps you learn, makes you happy, helps you grow.. And Do you think that you can achieve any of the above if you read / come across all “negative content” – which is demotivating, depressing, melancholy, continuous criticism, unwarranted judgment, etc. – Absolutely NOT! Again you can share a point of view which is radical / contrary to the popular belief, but you should know how to articulate it so that people appreciate your point-of-view; and it leaves them with food for thought, as opposed to anger or resentment or disbelief which sparks negativity.
And the best way you can share positivity is to be GOOD – in what you write… Be positive in what you write and share, Express Gratitude for the support you receive, and ignore what is better ignoring (It’s easier to ignore on social media)
And Goodness breeds Goodness… And before you know
Goodness is all around.. Thanks to you!