Social media etiquette

Yes, rules are made to be broken, and I’d rather you take a playful and experimental approach to your social media platforms than become a cookie-cut automaton who is boring and not worth time and attention. Having said that, there are some basic principles in relation to how to engage online that I think are worth adopting.

These should be familiar to you. I could say, ‘As in real life, so online’, and assume you always behave well, but we know that different contexts support different types of behaviour. For example, even though you’re both a pedestrian and a motorist, you behave differently when you’re on foot and when you’re behind the wheel. When you’re on foot you probably glare at the driver who is trying to push into the intersection as you cross at your own pace, and when you’re the driver you sit there impatiently, wishing the pedestrian who seems to be deliberately sauntering would just hurry up.

So here are some of the benchmarks of good social media behaviour:

  • Be polite. Remember to say please and thank you. We don’t like being taken for granted in real life, and online it’s the same. There’s a human being on the other side of every comment.
  • Give more than you take. When you find material you know someone else will love, send it to them. Ask them about themselves. When they ask a question, respond. Of course there are exceptions, and I’m not suggesting you should listen endlessly to someone who is determined to drone on and ...

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