Everyday manners are all good, but what good are they if they don’t also translate to our life on the internet and social media?
The conventional code of “manners” has transformed to widespread social etiquette as technology has become a daily habit in our lives. And good manners on social media are not only meant to form a polite “personal brand”: but also help in dealing with the insane amount of bullying and harassment on these platforms. Knowing how to keep a level head (and level headed tweets), can be beneficial for your own well being.
I often consult with brands and public figures on best social media etiquette to make sure they are managing their reputation with east. Below are some of the most important tips that anyone can use to practice good social media manners and etiquette.
1. Nothing is ever “deleted”
A good way to prevent slip ups and embarrassing moments is to always think that nothing is ever truly deleted even if you may have deleted it. We don’t know how social media platforms store our private information and we don’t know if someone could have screenshotted something you posted before you took it down.
Before posting always tell yourself it won’t ever be deleted. If you are confident in your decision to post that image, tweet or status update, then go ahead and post it. If you would ever be embarrassed or ashamed of it, then don’t post.
Remember, If granny or mother would disapprove, it probably shouldn’t get posted.
2. Avoid airing grievances or public displays of anger
This is not to tell you that you have no right to feel angry or sad. Of course you do. But for your own mental week being, instead of tweeting something you might regret, pick up the phone and call a loved one to talk it out instead. When you are angry or sad about something, you need to talk to someone – either face to face or on the phone.
This is especially important for public figures and influencers whose work may be overlooked due to personal updates dilute the impression they wish to set.
3. Never complain, never explain
Harassment and bullying are so common place now. Anyone who has a social media profile has seen it first hand. Those of us unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of it should follow in the footsteps of the Royal Family…yes, you read that right.
My favorite tip is “never complain, never explain”
For example, if someone leaves you a rude comment, don’t feel the need to firstly complain about it, and secondly, to respond to it. Either delete it or leave it be and move on to more pleasant conversation.
As a blogger, I see so many hateful comments on profiles of other bloggers and although it’s quite shameful, the response to these can get very out of hand. I’ve seen bloggers and public figures in turn publicly humiliating and shaming the person who left the comment or messaged them. In some cases, tone of comment was misunderstood or not a direct criticism of the person, but of their work.
There is no need to respond or explain yourself. In doing so, you might incite more of these comments and even sometimes become rude yourself.
No response and blocking is the best response.
4. Never trust anything you see online
Before making a public statement in response to an event, do your own research to confirm what you have heard or seen.
A wonderful example is the “bandwagon” effect of news. One person claims something, others retweet it or react, and suddenly there is a flurry of incorrect statements and updates. If you’ve grown up in the states, you’ll know the school game of “telephone”. Social media is like that…a game of telephone with a lot of miscommunication and misinformed statements.
If you are a brand, it is especially important you wait until you have information that is beyond doubt. You can then safely and carefully craft a public relations statement in response to something.
For personal brands or us everyday social media users, the same advice can be applied. Wait until you believe beyond doubt that something is accurate. Social media is not a race…you don’t have to be the first to respond to something everyone else is posting about.
5. Technology should enhance our lives, not replace them
One of the biggest rules in regards to social media etiquette (and general manners) is that there is a right and wrong time to be on your phone.
Don’t scroll on your phone during meetings with clients, colleagues, friends, family members, or acquittances. Be fully present sans phone with whoever you are meeting.
Don’t play games or music loudly in public spaces (including transportation)
Avoid the temptation to film and photograph every single part of your life to share publicly. No one cares about nor needs to see your Starbuck latte order. Take the photo or video but keep it to yourself to create personal memories.
And lastly, don’t share anything you wouldn’t want being shared by others. Need I explain more?
As our daily lives and more and more saturated with technology and social media, out manners must adapt to those platforms. Your social media platforms are the new way to introduce yourself, to get jobs, and to make connections that could be important. Treat others on social media as you wish to be treated. Hopefully the is with respect, kindness, and good manners.
Do you have any questions or additional social media etiquette tips to be added to this article? What do you think about some of these rules? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.