When we move into new, unfamiliar social settings, we all feel uneasy. What’s the right thing to say? How should I act? We muddle through the best we can, knowing we’ll make mistakes along the way.
So it’s no surprise that in the realm of social media, where the rules are still being formed (and where they seem to change daily), we mess up. Our faux pas are out there for the whole world to see. Even worse, they stay there (at least on Twitter). If we say something stupid at a church social or a PTA meeting, chances are good that only one or two people will hear us. When we make a gaffe on Twitter and Facebook, it’s potentially visible to thousands (though we all have smaller audiences than we think).
As in “real world” social settings, it’s a good idea to think about what we say and do, and how that will be perceived and translated by others. So in that spirit, here are a few online behaviors that I think can affect our social media reputations negatively. These are just my opinions, and in offering them, I’ll confess that I’ve committed most of these sins – some quite often. Chances are you have too. That’s OK. Just try to learn from mistakes and move forward.
1. Constant links with no comment or added value: “I don’t have any thoughts of my own, but I just want to remind you I’m still here.”
2. Games that post to people’s wall automatically: “I’m new to Social Media and clueless. Will somebody please teach me the ropes?”
3. Multiple tweets on how to make money: “I’m a spammer.”
4. Twitter “follows” and “unfollows” on hundreds of people a day: “I bought this program that said it’d give me 1,000 followers for $19.95. Now follow me back in 24 hours or less, or you’re history.”
5. Posts requesting endorsements: “It’s all about me. Thanks for the space in your feed.”
6. Twitterfeed posts from sources you don’t own (i.e., your blog): “I have no idea what I’m dumping in your feed, but I just wanted to remind you I’m here. (Waves)”
7. Complaints about other drivers. “You don’t matter. Stay the hell out of my way.”
8. “Good morning” and “good night” tweets: “Did I mention I’m still here?”
9. Achievement milestones, mayorships etc.: “I haven’t really got much to be proud of.”
10. Posts that start off “OMG!!!”: Do you really need me to translate this?
So there it is, for now. It may change tomorrow and almost certainly will by next week. But for now, that’s my read on things, knowing some will disagree.