Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Youtube or any other social media platform, proper etiquette can set the tone for how people view you. Nowadays, the documents you submit to your potential employer will not be the only he or she looks at. In fact, more than half of employers are probably going to also check out profiles of applicants on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s now an extension of what you are like outside the interview room.
Completely avoiding social media etiquette pitfalls is difficult because it is such a personal world and users’ opinions are subjective. However, you can limit the chances of embarrassing or annoying people by using some common-sense guidelines.
Facebook is a space where people interact with friends and family, people they know. Hence, it’s their so-called private space in a social forum. Just like every real life relationship, there are certain norms one must abide to. Just like you wouldn’t randomly approach anyone on the street, do not send an add invite to someone who would not know you. Make sure either the person is known to you or in the invite explain who you are, just like you would in daily interaction. Do not border on creepy by sending out invites to friend’s friend’s girlfriend who you met 20 minutes ago. Wait. Technically you just saw her and asked your friend who she was.
Refrain from abusing application invites and consistently inviting friends to participate in vampire games. Many call this spam. Also, inviting your friends to a group as a promotional gimmick, strict no-no. If your friends are interested, they’ll likely join without your “encouragement.” And if they don’t accept, don’t send the group request more than once by asking them to join via email, wall post, or Facebook message.
Keep you profile and business page separate from each other. Confusing one for another could hurt you personally or professionally. Also, it’s not some kind of race to see who has the highest number of friends. Add only those who you know and refrain from entertaining fake profiles.
Always monitor the pictures you are tagged in and the pictures you put up. No embarrassing/inappropriate/private/friends fat pictures please. Also, although Facebook wall post option does say, “ Write something”, they expected well-educated masses to use it. Don’t abuse it!
Twitter is about sending 144-character snippets of interesting information in a rapid manner. It involves ongoing reciprocity—much like personal relationships. Twitter users should be respectful. After you sign up to “follow” certain users, invite them to follow you. Give people time before you decide to stop following them. Be polite. Do not “unfollow” someone who has just started following you.
Not everyone needs to know what you ate for breakfast or how you are hung-over from last night. Make the “What’s Happening” option worth its while. Tweet the relevant and not just cause you have a twitter handle. It is always advisable to add something quirky about yourself under you handle description.
Do not mass-follow everyone so that you can artificially inflate your numbers. Use hash tags appropriately. Refrain from retweeting useless information tweeted by a friend just cause you promised him/her so. Also, refrain from using your Twitter feed as a chat room for conversations that are exclusive in nature. Private conversations have a different application for the purpose named messengers. Do not mistake twitter for it.
It’s nice that Twitter empowers you to use the @ symbol to talk directly to individuals, and that’s fine in moderation only.
First and foremost, make sure your display picture is professional enough to be present on this professional networking site. Most job seekers and company executives are present on this site. Inappropriate picture, fake information and unfitting comments could create the wrong impression on people in your network.
Always seek permission from the administrator before posting promotional updates on groups not meant for the purpose. Going about asking people who don’t know you well for endorsement will not do well to your credibility. When someone asks you for recommendation, put genuine effort in doing so instead of putting together a few words for formality sake.
Although YouTube thrives on user-generated content, making sure that you follow the intellectual property rights is important. Else, you might just have Youtube disregard your content. Also, probing friends/family to follow your channel won’t get you anywhere. Let your content speak for you. Also, while commenting on a video, be respectful. There is no need for malice. If you don’t like what you see, ignore it. Don’t abuse the power bestowed by social media. Slurring is not acceptable!
It is a space of self-expression. Do not mistake any particular data available on a blog for it. Before quoting it, research! Most people blog to emote and express their opinion and ideologies. Irrespective of whether you agree or disagree with them, have a respectful conversation with them via comments. Else, the comments moderation option will do the rest for you and in the process you will lose your integrity in the eyes of the blogger. When commenting, do not use IDs like “bluefroginthewell” or keep it as anonymous. Why hide behind such atrocious identity? You write cause you are capable of opining.
When writing a blog, make sure the content is genuine and not a simple copy paste job. If excerpts are taken from other blogs, give them due credit. Don’t let greed get in the way of your own blogging habits and make sure to link out where appropriate.
Another strict no-no is commenting on blogs just to cross promote your website on their space. It will lead to your comment being framed under the spam bracket!
Remember that social media communities are real relationships, real conversations. It’s about the collective, the community, and the common good.