One of my journo-former-life jobs was to edit the Letters to the Editor pages.
It was not a job that I looked forward to each day. At all.
Mostly that was because of the largely negative nature of the letters received and I was quite aware that if I stuffed up and let something go through that was defamatory that I would be on the receiving end of an almighty rant.
… as I was one morning. It was a particularly large and loud rant (I had slipped up but I don’t agree with being shouted at – at work or at home), after which I skulked back to my desk and vowed and declared to myself that I would work towards being removed from this daily task.
My point is that in the “olden” days, the letter pages of a newspaper were the only avenue through which people could vent their views on news of the day. When they did so, this actually involved putting pen to paper. The best letter writers spent time crafting their thoughts into reasoned prose. The worst? Typically they were written quite forcefully with viewpoints rammed home by a page full of block capital and exclamation marks.
Either way, quite a lot of thought and effort went into the process of “expressing” a viewpoint. And we only ever published an anonymous letter under special circumstances. Even in those circumstances we had the contact name and number of the letter writer so knew they were real people. If we suspected they were fake details, we’d phone and check. If found to be fake, the letters would be binned.
Nowadays, it’s all too easy to jump on to an online news site, a blog, Twitter, Facebook and spew forth a rant.
Without stopping to think. Without editing yourself. Without even having the guts to put a real name and email address to the rant.
I truly believe you should stop and edit yourself. The Internet is forever. Will you be happy in a year’s time when a potential employer is the same one you had a rant over today?
Last week Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim wrote this post about online manners and this week the beautiful Kelly Exeter created this manifesto. Head on over to Kelly’s blog, download it and share it. I particularly like the bit about the Queen.
In the comments section it was suggested that it would be good for this to pop up whenever anyone was about to comment on a blog post. I love that idea. If there is someone geeky enough to know how to make this happen, email me!
I want to use the manifesto as a base today and talk social media etiquette. Not because I think I’m the best person to discuss it but because it needs to be discussed.
I’m focussing on the four main networks I like to hang out on. You might have something to say about your experience on these networks and others. Please do.
- DO share great content from other people’s pages. Sharing makes the social media world go round.
- DO comment as your business page on other business pages but don’t take over that page with aggressive commenting as a way of trying to build up your own following on the back of someone else’s.
- DON’T spam and link your business page on another business page without any connection to what might be being talked about on that page. (Facebook’s new timeline at least makes these less visible but I will still delete and ban if I see this.)
- DON’T link the same post at the same time on both your personal and business profiles. If I’m your friend I’m going to see both links at the same time in the newsfeed. It just looks spammy.
- DO stop and think before you make a derogatory comment on someone’s post. Are you adding to the conversation or killing it? And please don’t begin an attack with “sorry …”. You are not sorry at all.
- DO be careful when you are commenting in secret or closed Facebook groups. What you say in these groups can still be defamatory because the discussion is with more than one other person.
- DO broadcast you blog posts via Twitter … but remember Twitter is an open-all-hours cocktail party. Get into the conversations as well.
- DO retweet other people’s Tweets that you know your followers would be into.
- DO Tweevesdrop (watch other’s conversations) and join in the conversation but don’t hijack them. Think about that cocktail party analogy again. Are you the one who’s always coming up to groups at a party and not even saying excuse me before sprouting forth your views?
- DO build your following on Twitter by being engaging.
- DON’T buy followers (did you know you can do this? Crazy). Yes, your “numbers” might look good to the uninitiated but those followers are not even real people so they are hardly going to add to your conversation.
- DO be respectful of others. Stop and think before you hit return on those 140 characters. Are you adding to the conversation or just having a rant for a rant’s sake?
- DO think about the photos you are sharing. Not every photo you take on your phone has to be Instagrammed. Instagram is a visual playground – will your photos add or subtract from that?
- DO join photo challenges like #photoaday as they will inspire you to take even better more creative photos.
- DO “like” other photos in your feed. You may not be able to share other people’s photos but you can share the love.
- DON’T leave comments asking for likes in exchange for your likes (don’t laugh … This is happening!). It just looks sad and desperate.
- DO repin other people’s pins. It’s not just about what you’ve pinned. There’s that sharing aspect again.
- DO try to avoid repinning an image that cannot be tracked back to its original source. I always get suspicious if something is pinned from Tumblr as Tumblr bloggers rarely include an image source. To find an original source add this button to your Internet browser toolbar.
- DO try and spread out your pinning time so you’re not doing a dump of dozens of photos into the feed. (This is a tricky one that I can be guilty of as I get sucked into this social network playground and can’t find my way out of the maze of tempting food and designer houses).
- DO try to keep your boards organised and categorised for followers to easily play along.
Now it’s your turn. What don’t you like seeing in your social media networks? Which networks do you find yourself spending more time in of late? Do you stop and think before you post?
And if you’ve blogged about any aspect of blogging this week, feel free to add your post to my Saturday blogging link-up. There is room where it says NAME to include your blog’s name plus the name of the post, for example: STYLING YOU: 20 tips for improving your social media etiquette
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