Communication Ettiquete in a world of Newsfeeds and Wall posts

Last year, I defended social networks such as facebook as being a catalyst of social interactions, a tool for managing and maintaining a real-life social network. While I still remain a social media evangelist and avid facebooker, it doesn’t take long to notice the tension in a mixed crowd of what the current “rules of engagement” are in terms of social etiquette in digital and physical space. Many Zoomers, for example, are well versed in “netiquette”, or the proper modes of communication across technological mediums, but could be losing the tact and skill of real-time physical space communication. Its as if technology is turning much of society into awkward teenage boys. Ever try to have a phone conversation with an internet junkie?

However, one could make the same argument for Boomers, as theres only so far you can ride the “good old days” pony of punctuation until you run the risk of irelevancy, as compared to social media gurus. I’m not saying that punctiation and proper grammar are going out of style, but that netiquette, or an understanding of proper communication on the web is as necessary for a boomer as are the social standards of the realworld for zoomers. Neither side can escape the rules of engagement.

Consequences of poor netiquette are as real as any other social etiquette faux pas, as online correspondence in social media platforms such as facebook hold even more potential risk for various reasons.
1.) It is both personal… and business…
Social networks are a place where your mix of friends can be both your boss, your clients, your potential clients, and your friends. Consider it like a corporate picnic and all fo the family is invited. You can promote your business…but you may find yourself alienated..
2.) It is not always in your control
Some sites, such as facebook, have features that allow your friends to share things on your wall, which is visible to everyone unless you set your privacy settings. What your friends do, in term sof postings, photo tags, etc is not always in your control. My advice? check out the privacy settings, they usually have a way to hide the unflattering comments posted by the less-than-tactful.
3.) its text
Lets not forget that the same rule between email and phone also applies to facebook. If you wouldn’t want it in an email…you probably wouldn’t want it in facebook. The power of digital correspondence…is a digital paper trail. If you wouldn’t email it…you wouldn’t facebook it either. Sounds obvious, but don’t forget that what you say and do on facebook can be seen and saved by many for a long time.

I do not mean to strike a sense of fear, danger, or negativity to my readers, but a sense of urgency that online social networking can be used as a valid communication tool, and thus to remain rele

The absolute key for both sides is to maintain a balanced social strategy, engaging in both physical and digital ways appropriately. The key word here is appropriate, and knowing when to make a facebook message versus outlook, a phonecall or a wall post, etc. This topic is of hot debate as traditional standards are challenged, but the point here is not to argue as to which one is better, but which one is better suited per each situation. To argue that facebook and other sites are non professional and unnecessary would be to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

For you superhero businesspeople, take this quote from the comic Spiderman to heart, that with great power, comes great responsibility. Social networking holds a great deal of power to connect with both a wide audience and small clientele in a social and personal way and make them like family. Just make sure they don’t cross paths with embarrassing Aunt Edna.


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