I was bringing a friend of mine up to date on my recent unemployed status and started talking about how I’m looking to help online businesses incorporate more Social Media into their marketing strategies. His response almost stopped me in my tracks: “I’m trying to get people to stop using Social Media.”
I intently listened to the problems he was up against with Facebook, Twitter and other “Social” online applications. He talked about how it cut into productivity with all the games and such. Not only was he having to deal with the deluge of email related spam, now he was having to handle company resources being eaten up by all the bandwidth to the Social Media sites.
Then he said something that reminded me of the AOL Chatroom days – “people say things on Facebook and Twitter that they won’t say to your face.” It’s beyond the old, now updated, joke “What happens in Vegas winds up on YouTube.” Comments made in cyberspace can be far worse than accidentally hitting Send All on something you probably shouldn’t have been forwarding in the first place.
In Tamar Weinberg post The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook she has some great common decency tips:
“Publicizing a private conversation on a wall post. In case it isn’t obvious, Facebook wall posts are completely public to all your friends (unless you tweak your privacy settings). Private matters should be handled privately: via email or even in Facebook private messages.”
Forbes.com asks the question Are You Practicing Proper Social Networking Etiquette? It touches upon the conversation I was have with my friend:
“where managers have limited or banned Facebook for being a distraction and monitor employees’ personal pages for images or comments that might reflect poorly on the business.”
Chris Brogan addresses the Facebook games that I so dislike in his 2007 blog post Considering Social Network Etiquette
Don’t play along, if you don’t want. It sends the message of how you want to use the app. Don’t feel that this is a ‘when in Rome’ situation. Use the networking tool the way you want to use it.
As users of Social Media, we have to remember that we are putting ourselves “out there”. It is something that even I have to remind myself, to “practice what I preach.”