For better or for worse, it seems like I am stepping into the very modest wardrobe of Ms. Emily Post when it comes to the world of Social Media. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately regarding proper etiquette or how I approach certain situations whilst avoiding hurting anyone’s feelings.
Really, what it comes down to are some pretty basic rules. I thought I would outline some here, and then you fill in any that I miss.
1. If you don’t G2G, then you’ve G2G: In other words, if you don’t give to get, you’ve got to go. I don’t mean that you have to pay it forward in a cheesy movie kind of way, but, for example:
• If someone retweets your post, go to their blog and leave a nice comment or tweet out a post for them
• If you ask someone for a favor, try to do them a favor around the same time frame
• If someone refers a person to you and names you as a good resource – be a good resource
Can this seem mechanical sometimes? Maybe. Can you get away with not giving to get? Probably. But giving to get also has the added benefit of helping you feel helpful and squishy, which is almost always nice.
2. Hold the Ham: Everyone wants to be the star of their own Social Media reality, and let’s face it, when all of these sites are asking, “What are you doing,” “What’s on your mind,” and “What’s new” it’s easy to think that everyone cares an awful lot about us. However, sometimes it’s a good idea to step back a bit and let someone else take the starring role. This can mean:
• Promoting someone else’s project, even if you have a project in progress
• Inviting someone to guest post on your site
• Contributing a guest post to someone’s site
• Retweeting someone else’s post or tweet
3. Remember that time is the ultimate gift: One thing people really appreciate is getting an acknowledgment that they have a lot on their plate. This can be done in any number of ways. For example:
• Don’t throw a tantrum if someone doesn’t read your post Right-A-Way!!!!!
• If you ask someone for a favor and they say no, don’t ask 27 more times
• If you ask someone for a little time and they do give that gift to you, be appreciative.
Bear in mind, whenever you write a blog post and tweet it out or post it to Facebook, you are asking people for time, and when people comment or share your post, they are giving you that time. Show appreciation via comments or tweets.
4. Extrapolate how you feel on to others: Even though so many of us experience Social Media in different ways, we often encounter experiences that create the same kind of sentiments. Try to keep your eyes and ears open for situations where you can sympathize with or applaud a person. This means:
• If a person announces that they have just started blogging, give them a round of virtual applause. You know what a big step that is and how hard it is to get going
• If someone is new to Twitter, reach out, lend a hand, and introduce them to some of your friends
• If someone posts really good news, retweet it and congratulate them, because you know you’d love the same thing
5. Be a hunter, not a gatherer. In other words, don’t search out information so that you can store it in a bin (like your brain, for example). Hunt down information, chats, useful people, and good resources and share the bounty with your community. It’s not about controlling information, it’s about spreading information.
Here’s a bonus one, and it’s the one I am always surprised people miss. Are you ready?
Say thank you. Say thank you when someone says something nice about you. Say thank you when someone tweets out your post. Say thank you when someone comments, either by literally saying thank you or by replying to their comment in kind. Or if you think saying “thank you” would get old, act out your thankfulness. Be human. It’s not just about voice, it’s about being civilized.
What are your “be nice” tips?
How do you define Social Media good manners? What rules do you use to guide your online behavior? Do you have your own list of five? Let’s talk in the comments about how to be nice in Social Media through words and/or actions. It’s the right time of year for being nice anyway, right?