One of the great things about social media is that I have been able to meet so many awesome people – people that I might have otherwise never met – if it was not for the platform of blogging, facebook, twitter or instagram. These social networks make our world much smaller and we are all connected in a global village with various tribes. I love it.
Because I have been blogging and facebooking for a number of years, I sometimes forget what it means to be brand new in the social media scene. This scene can sometimes be navigated by some people in the wrong way. Two reasons for this:
- People do not really understand what social etiquette is and are innocently ignorant of it.
- People chose to be selfish by being content consumers without becoming content distributors.
If you were to ask me over coffee how you can maintain a healthy level of social media etiquette – and not stink at it, here are seven things I would say to you:
- Sharing Is Caring. Often, only the big name bloggers or celebrities get “re-posted” or “re-linked.” Why is that? Help out the little guys – they probably have some stuff to say that is worthy of your friend-feed. Providing exposure to your friend’s blog goes a long way for them personally. It motivates them to write more fresh content. Your friends are exposed to a voice not yet read but worth the read! When you see that a friend posted a link to an article, a quote or something else, go ahead and click the “share” button! Or, take the quote or link and tag the name of your friend on it.
- Affirmation is Excellent. The “like” or “re-tweet” buttons are there for a reason. I know that for most people, if a post did not create an emotional response, they will usually forgo clicking “like.” Listen. This is social media. The post will most likely be lost in the newsfeed. You clicking “like” does not necessarily mean you affirm everything that person has ever said. Plus – everyone likes affirmation. It creates a catalyst for your friends to think clearer, to write with more clarity and to inspire you more consistently – so – click “like” and click it often!
- Encouragement is Contagious. A simple comment saying that this post somehow made your day goes a long way. Everyone appreciates being appreciated. Do you like when people thank you? How does it make you feel? Spread the love! I once heard that someone was printing many posts from my blog and distributing them because they thought they were interesting. I had no idea this was happening. Whoever did that, thank you! May God bless you! Why not provide some encouragement? Either publicly or privately – it goes a long way.
- Avoid the “Hit & Run.” Some people leave comments on posts that are supremely abstract. If you are going to comment, then at least give a few sentences explaining what you mean. A few times I had people comment on a post of mine with one word saying “disagree.” Ok, great! Had a blast speaking with you?
- Be Ready To Get Criticized. If you are sharing ideas or concept, be ready to get criticized. If you are uncomfortable with hearing an opinion different than your own, then maybe social networking is not for you. Realize that not everyone is on board with something that you said. This is a crazy idea I have but not everyone agrees with you. And that is quite alright. This is the beauty of diversity. Now, we have to be careful here as we start talking about critics. Click here to read a post I wrote about three types of critics and how to respond to each.
- Use The Private Message Option. If you are unsure about what a person meant – instead of trolling them with comments that do not contribute to the conversation, go ahead and send them a private message. I had someone do this to me recently and it was amazing. I received a private message about one of my posts – the reader expressed some concern about it and offered a bit of advice – we had a great convo “off-stage” if you will. Awesome.
- Less Announcements, More Conversation. Wait a few weeks to announce something that you started doing. Wait until you actually made some good headway into the endeavor. Whatever it may be. Trying to lose weight, changing your diet, changing your theological stance on something or simply adding a different life routine. Add value to the conversation instead of just telling us what you plan on doing.
Last but not least – use social media for the fame of Jesus’ name – in whatever creative way that you come up with. So when you post a status update, a picture, a thought, an idea – let it not be untethered to the gospel of Jesus.
Think about what you say and how you will say it.
- Is it gospel-centered?
- What is your heart motive for posting it?
- How will you react to criticism or affirmation?
- Does your social etiquette stink?
- What else would you suggest?