The time of instant gratification is here with regard to social networking. It is thrilling to be able to integrate ones social and business contacts through Facebook, Twitter etc. One can connect instantaneously with their directory of contacts throughout all aspects of their lives. This immediate contact or instant touch allows your network to be notified of all your updates through posts, pictures, bloggs or tweets. This can be a provocative tool, but the question that arises is where do we draw the line in revealing ourselves and revealing to much. The word is discretion and there is balance between creating top of mind awareness and becoming spam.
Recently, I have received feedback from various readers requesting the etiquette for online networking. Readers have sited various examples of colleagues and friends who have lost their jobs due to overly explicit photos on Facebook. One reader called in sick from work and in reality had gone on vacation. This person made reference to this on her update on Facebook, which her employer saw. Consequently, this person was let go.
For the younger audiences, there is a smaller distinction between the personal and professional roles we start to develop more definitively in our 20’s and beyond. There can be a burr between the business and personal and this can create a serious double edge sword. It appears that when people create there virtual selves, it may only represent one aspect of their life. People tend to divide their lives into personal self, professional self, spouse, mother, father etc and these roles are compartmentalized.
Your online persona can create a gray area. So consider what the main function of the network site you are using is for, be it business or pleasure. When you receive or accept invitations to join networks be discerning. Accepting a fellow work employee or boss on Facebook, could prove to be detrimental to your professional growth within the company if you are not mindful of the content posted on your account.
Basic etiquette for social networking:
1) Whatever you post of yourself or others is a direct reflection of you.
2) If you are ever in question about what to post, consult a professional or avoid publishing it.
3) If you are a professional and value your job, do not post or boast about illegal activities or behaviors that could be deemed totally inappropriate.
4) Think twice about tagging photos. Tagging compromising photos or unattractive photos could have serious ramifications. The least being the loss of a friend.
5) Private conversations should be taken off line and not publicized.
6) Airing your dirty laundry is distasteful unless your Facebook account only consists of direct immediate friends. If you have a need for support during a hard time call a friend, buy a journal, but avoid mass postings of daily dramas. Slander or negativity is a turn off and could result in legal ramifications.
7) If your posts or self promotion is always about you, know that you are giving the impression of a selfish or self indulgent person.
8) Group invites should only be sent once.
9) Be mindful of what networks you are using and post relevant information, be it business or social. Facebook is for friendship, Linkedin is more business oriented.
10) If you are seeking to make connections with someone, make a proper introduction and provide your real name.
11) Cross reference your posts through ping.fm.
12) Avoid abusing applications. Sending an application once a week is acceptable, daily application requests is harassment.
13) Accept friendship or connect requests with thought. How do I know this person or who are they connected to. Identity theft is a major threat so think twice about accepting a friendship without a social context. Facebook can provide an elevated and often artificial sense of being popular, but it is not worth risking your identity for.
14) Be truthful.
15) Post one newsworthy story a day. Anymore will translate as spam.
17) Link sources for articles, bloggs etc.
18) Avoid fowl language or off colored jokes.
19) Use spell check and check your grammar before posting.The use of all capital letters translates as screaming.
20) Respect peoples time and energy. Every action has an equal or opposite reaction. Think in terms of creating a network for the common good, but be authentic in your expression.
Social networks are humanizing and truly can help people integrate their lives as well as creating an enriching experience for people to live and learn from one another. Approach this global phenomenon with respect for yourself and others and you will create a network that supports and encourages constructive personal and professional relationships.
My best advise in creating your best virtual self is to remain interested and interesting. Be respectful, creative, thoughtful and engage!
Should you have questions or situations that you would like etiquette advise on, please submit to email@example.com
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