In a world of anonymity, courtesy of all the social media channels we have, it’s increasingly easier to develop a ‘sub-persona’ (digital persona) of the real ‘you’. Social media engagement has given everyone a voice for their opinions – the good, the bad and the ugly! There’s nothing inherently wrong with engagement. It’s actually very good. How we engage is the issue.

To add value and credibility to opinions, don’t you need to stand by them? In order to stand by them, you need to ‘own it’ and not hide behind a social media digital persona that is not reflective of who you truly are.

I am sure I am not the only one who has cringed at a response to a comment or has been appalled at the lack of respect shown for differences of opinion. Social media has already evolved into a viable channel and information stream. This will continue as it enters its next phase of maturity. We are all part of a global community comprising of a mishmash of cultures and societal differences. It has become increasingly important for each one of us to implement a code of conduct for our social media engagement. This begs the question: What would that social media engagement code of conduct consist of? I am reminded of the social rules my mom taught me growing up – with a slightly digital twist!

Here are a few ‘Mom’ social media engagement takeaways:

Be helpful. The social media channel has allowed all of us to be part of a larger community – a global community. There are no borders or boundaries. As such, we have opened ourselves to different people’s perspectives and experiences. If someone needs help from LinkedIn, a Group Post or Facebook and you can offer expertise, an opinion or an alternate point of view, do it – not to sell, but to assist. Pay it forward. Like everything else in life, it’ll come back to you!

If you don’t have anything nice say… The last part of this rule of social engagement is ’don’t say anything at all’. But in the digital space, if you’re not saying something nice, at least be positive and constructive in how you say it. Or go back to Mom’s rule and don’t say anything at all – just click away!

The only thing you can control is your own behaviour. Not everyone is going to like you, want to be your friend or even have the same values as you. That’s true not matter what space you engage in. Understand this and respond to negativity with kindness. If you can’t do that, then disengage. There’s no need to add undue stress to your life. You are not going to change anyone. You have choices, exercise them.

Be mindful. Think about the subjects you discuss and how you discuss them. The immediacy of social media makes it easy to jump right in and text/post/comment the first thing that pops into your head. Although, it’s not conducive or good conduct to just blurt out whatever you have on your mind.

A Social media engagement code of conduct is important for governing how we interact on a digital personal or digital business level. It’s important to gain control of your access and how you are being perceived. Mom’s rules of social conduct for face-to-face interactions really makes senses for social media engagement conduct as well. What do you think?