Mind your manners….

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You all got those lectures as a kid. Mind your manners at the table, watch your P’s and Q’s,  sit up straight, hold the door open for others. If you had parents like I did then you definitely got lots of guidance on how to conduct proper social etiquette and manners when dealing with others.

With social media becoming a primary means by which we interact with others, its good remember that common things we practice when dealing with others face to face should be practiced online, manners and etiquette then are no exception.

I may sound like a broken record but follow your Facebook News Feed these days or at least mine and I sometimes wonder if etiquette has gone straight out the window. I’m not saying i am offended here or that I’d remove these people as friends but something are better left offline all together. I have always guided myself by the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. I apply this to social media as well.

I have used social media for a few years now but haven’t ever really understood how etiquette with these mediums works. To be sure sites like Facebook and Twitter, my two primary sites, have rules and guidelines on how to use them but etiquette, I’ve never really seen any formal charter or set of rules.

I decided to do a quick google search and see what I could glean about etiquette. The first article I came across was a god send to be honest. I plan to file and keep referring to it.
Tamar Weinberg’s Techipedia had the following article and I love it. So comprehensive and thorough and literally every social media site is on there. Titled The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook, it really should be made into a manifesto.

The Facebook and Twitter sections are perhaps the most useful since these are the two most popular sites that I use. I won’t into great detail here and I’ve linked to the article above, but here a few highlights that struck me.

Facebook:

Abusing group invites. If your friends are interested, they’ll likely join without your “encouragement.” And if they don’t accept, don’t send the group request more than once by asking them to join via email, wall post, or Facebook message.

This one stands out for me since I get these regularly. I find event invites to be the worst these days getting so many I can’t keep up with replying. Sometimes I do find out about events though via Facebook but if I don’t have a personal connection to the event, I often indicate not attending.

Twitter

Using your Twitter feed as a chat room for conversations that are exclusive in nature and not as a broadcast medium. It’s nice that Twitter empowers you to use the @ symbol to talk directly to individuals, and that’s fine in moderation. As a friend recently said to me, “I’m tired of my Twitter feed being a [private] conversation between person X, person Y, and person Z.” Why don’t the three of you get a room? [Update: Since this particular tidbit had some follow-up discussion, I summarize this point from @cheapsuits: “The tweeps that talk everyday to each other about banalities gets old.”? The emphasis here is on “chat rooms” that exclude other individuals in conversations that do not provide value. At all. Ever. I think we all would agree about that point! I also added some new points in italics to clarify.

This one really sticks out for me. I notice this a lot on Twitter recently. I reply directly to someone’s Tweet if I have a comment about their tweet and that’s it. I think those engaging in private conversations would be better off using direct messages on Twitter between each other rather than the @ symbol or create a hastag # and conversation between the parties chatting only and stick to that.

So there you have it, a quick lesson in social media etiquette. This is by no means an exhaustive but it’s more of a friendly reminder to mind your manners.  Now sit up straight and pay attention and always say please and thank you.

2 Responses to "Mind your manners…."
  1. Great comment Chris. Thanks for posting. While I always take a position in my posts, you’ve raised some great points about social media and how it can be used for collaboration and debate. It is certainly something that merits further exploration.

  2. Christopher Bodnar says:

    Hmm, but isn’t one of the beautiful things about twitter the fact that any number of people can get together and have a conversation, whether noted via hashtags or directly at each other via the @ directive? It leaves the door open to collaboration and/or debate with previously unknown entities. Some people use twitter as a broadcast service, others as a conversation piece, some use for both. that’s where picking and choosing who to follow is important.

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