Social media is a piece of cake, right? All you do is post, tweet or like, retweet, comment, follow and unfollow. There are no rules since it’s all anonymous (or at least safe from in front of your screen)… Well, maybe in theory. Assuming you want to use social media not for trolling, but to actually have conversations or meet interesting people, you might want to follow a few simple (and one might even say obvious) rules:
1. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not
Even though the internet gives you a sense of anonymity, you don’t even realize how easy it is to find info on anyone. You don’t need to reveal every detail of your life, but if you are an American man, don’t pretend to be a French lingerie model.
2. Don’t be a smartass
It’s nice to have something valuable to say, but what the internet (ok, the people on the internet, to be more precise) hates is self-acclaimed experts in every field. So you say you know everything about military, Britney Spears, Azerbaijan’s foreign affairs and emus? Riiight. Sure you do.
3. Don’t get into arguments
Social media is a great source not only for news (in the future, if not already now, the only answer to ‘where were you when XYZ happened?’ will be ‘on Twitter’), but also exchanging views. Even if you don’t agree with others, don’t let it turn into a nasty argument.
4. Don’t stoop too low
If you do get into an argument, say whatever it is you have to say and leave. Don’t call anyone names, swear or use 5th grade-worthy comebacks.
5. Double-check your grammar
Nothing undermines your credibility more than grammatical errors (well, at least in my eyes…). And although nobody’s perfect, everybody can use Google and a spell check.
6. Interact with people
If someone replies to your post or tweet, say thanks or start a conversation. Social media, like the name suggests, is a social activity and no one likes to be ignored.
7. Censor yourself
Some people treat their Facebook or Twitter accounts as diaries. But please, for the love of god, don’t share EVERYTHING with your readers. Some things are meant to be kept private and let’s keep it that way.
8. Don’t post party photos
Maybe you impressed your high school friends with photos of you drinking and smoking, but unless you actually are 16, don’t do it. Especially if there’s vomit anywhere in the pic.
9. Link original sources
Although the idea of original source on the internet is rather an unachievable fantasy, posting a photo/video/article/joke with a link to the site or person you got it from (e.g. via the ‘share’ option on Facebook) will surely be appreciated.
10. Have fun
Last but not least, social media is supposed to be fun. Leave whining, crying and complaining elsewhere and instead meet new people, share interesting stuff, broaden your horizons and enjoy it to the fullest!