Are manners a dying art? If you work with the general public or you’re a teacher, your immediate answer to that question was probably a boisterous “YES!” But what about social manners? Is our lack of manners online beginning to diminish common courtesy in real life, or are we forgetting our manners so much in real life that we completely lose sight of them online? A more modern “chicken-or-the-egg” example, to be sure. So what can you do to ensure that you make new friends and keep the old?
3 Ways to Mind Your Manners in Social Media
1. Say “Thank You”
We all get swamped with work and sometimes have a million things going on. Sometimes we’re just having really rotten days. But when someone does something for you, it’s never okay to ignore their kindness and helpfulness — unless you want to be seen as taking advantage of people. This is really difficult in social media, particularly if you have a large following, but it can be done. If someone is sharing information, thoughts, ideas, or anything else with you, show your gratitude and say thank you. When possible, do one better and pay it forward.
2. Mix and Mingle
If you pose a question on Twitter, presumably to begin a discussion, and then you ignore everyone who replies to you, that’s not showing very good social manners. Same goes for Facebook. And blog comments. In fact, it could be showing a lack of understanding of how social media works. Can you always respond to everyone? Certainly not. But you can respond to some or take a few seconds to simply type a one-sentence acknowledgement. If you can only respond to a few people, make sure you switch it up. Don’t always interact with the same people while you ignore the others. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be loyal to the people you interact with the most, but don’t forget the others. You never know who has brilliant ideas. You could be missing out on meeting some wonderful people.
3. Keep Your Personal Relationships Intact
We now live in a society where what we do offline affects what happens online and social media manners are still called into question (not to mention, in some cases, personal integrity). It’s easy to rely on social media for all of our communications. Despite reports that we’re all losing the ability to communicate in person, I believe we still have that ability. So don’t let your friendships go untended. Some things require personal communication and when you ignore that and let your closest friends and family discover your big news on a social media site, you run the risk of putting them out. Care enough to know when it’s best for personal communication versus social media.
What tips would you add to this list?
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