Rebeca Levey, our social media editor, provides pertinent tips about properly using social media. Are there social media dos and don’ts you follow, or wish others would?
This past week a school district in New Jersey instituted etiquette classes for all 7th graders, including social media etiquette. I am sure they are referring mostly to cyber bullying, but for all of society social media is still relatively new and the rules around how to behave are being tested, reviewed and reshaped every day. As a blogger social media etiquette is also a matter of professional behavior. The internet is your workplace – you may be able to show up in your pajamas but every comment you leave, tweet and status update you make, post you write and link you share reveal something about you – and you need to think about how that amorphous digital resume takes shape.
Here are some Dos and Don’ts to Follow:
Do: Share relevant, quality links. Whether they’re funny or controversial, high-brow or goofy know your followers and your niche and share what truly resonates. Links show the world what you are reading, what you deem worthy to share and hopefully what you’re truly interested in.
Don’t: Hijack a hashtag during a Twitter party. If you have a problem with a company or the person running the party deal with it another time. Tweet until you get carpal tunnel syndrome about all the things that the company does you don’t agree with, but don’t come into someone else’s space and dominate the conversation with anger. Not everyone agrees with you either, but the Twitter party is not the place to air that debate. (Maybe we should start having Twitter debates?)
Do: Set your Facebook privacy settings. The more friends you have the harder this is, but if you mingle your professional and personal on Facebook you need to create lists of your friends that separate the two and decide who can see what. You probably want to gain maximum exposure for your professional side and limit who sees your vacation photos and those bad hair middle school years.
Don’t: Use “chain” status updates if you use Facebook professionally. “Copy and paste this if you love your mom, or your dog, or your mailman!” It’s annoying and makes you look juvenile. Remember, this is your workplace. Would you pass around a chain letter at work? The only time this is acceptable is when it’s charity related. Please make sure what you post is legit.
Do: Comment thoughtfully. You certainly don’t have to agree with a post, but you should always have a valid point, relate to the post and present a coherent thought. Be a part of a conversation rather than using someone else’s post as your soapbox. When you add to the post and enrich the discussion you make yourself look better too. (And check for typos!)
Don’t: Steal This shouldn’t have to be said, but taking someone else’s content and posting it as your own is unethical and illegal. What else is wrong? Stealing someone’s ideas and not recognizing them. Did you read a post and think hey, I agree or I have a different take on that. Well, give them credit. A quick shout out and link back to that original author is all that’s required, but you must do it. We all have similar ideas but if your post was “inspired” by someone else’s you should acknowledge it. By doing that you are creating both link love and good will. Plus, you are now adding to a larger conversation and that is what social media is all about.