Since I was a little girl, my mother always told me to say please and thank you, chew with my mouth closed, sit pretty and be polite. While these manners are important for raising well-behaved little boys and girls, they differ from culture to culture. In other words, manners and etiquette are socially contructed through traditions and social norms. When it comes to social media, however, you can’t always look to your parents to demonstrate appropriate behavior.
With social media now a global phenomenon, who can you look to for media manners? Here’s a few good tips for various social sites: http://ow.ly/KHpJ. The author, Tamar Weinberg, puts it well when she says “social media mimics real relationships.” Just because someone can’t see your face or can’t hear your voice doesn’t mean they can’t receive your message. Of course, gestures and facial expressions add personality but for the most part, people get a sense of your personality through whatever message you choose to relay. Don’t get me wrong… it’s great to catch a glimpse of the person clicking the keyboard but how much is too much?
By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard don’t tweet what you eat or don’t be too abstract (which I may be guilty of) but altogether, social media is just a big network of real people in the real world. You wouldn’t forgo a thank you if someone complimented, congratulated or gave props to you for a job well done would you? Reciprocate nice gestures and be mindful of language, pictures, etc. I don’t mean to be lame here but I have to say it… for all of you in the twittersphere, tweet others as you would like to be tweeted.