We’re back this week with our She Said, He Said blog posts focusing on etiquette in social media. Make sure you stop by tomorrow for Jim’s point of view and chime in on Twitter at 8 p.m. CST tomorrow using the hashtag #shehechat to tell us what you think.
In the last two weeks, I have been preached at in a religious sense, “yelled” at for voicing an opinion about a service and propositioned for a sexual encounter – all via social media, all in the public space and all without any antagonistic remark from me.
Now, I won’t tell you who said these things (it was three different people) and I won’t tell you on which networks this occurred (it was two different networks), but I will tell you that I wasn’t very pleased with any of the three remarks.
I am not a saint
I can’t say that I don’t make mistakes in the social media world. I do. You could even say that I make some of them on purpose. Last week, I posted a tweet that included the phrase “Damn right” in it; even though I previously swore that I wouldn’t swear.
However, to my knowledge, I have never attacked or offended someone and, if I have, I certainly didn’t do it on purpose. That’s the difference here. It’s the intent. There was no mistaking what those three remarks were meant to be. I can’t share the posts or comments with you out of sheer discretion; but I promise there was no misunderstanding in the language that was used.
The best response was no response
It’s possible a few of my connections saw these three comments directed at me. If so, no one said anything to me, and for that I am glad. In fact, my own response was exactly the same: Nothing. I didn’t take the bait; if in fact that’s what it was.
That’s something certainly to consider. Perhaps these three individuals were aware of my feelings on such matters and were just trying to antagonize me. If they are reading this now, maybe they will consider this blog post a victory of sorts. If so, they just don’t get me.
I know it’s not just me
Before I start receiving messages about how I can’t take a joke or that I really am Marcia Brady like Jim alleges, I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Particularly on Twitter, I have recently seen post after post pleading with other users to let go of the negativity and the venom or take it somewhere else.
For my own purposes, I unplug from social networks if I don’t have anything positive to contribute to the communities. However, I admit I follow the postings of some of the naysayers out there because they have somehow built a brand around the negativity and are many times humorous. You might think this is hypocritical; but keep in mind that while I’ve seen negativity, I haven’t seen these individuals single a person out or try to antagonize them. There really is a difference.
My social media strategy revised
I suppose revising my personal social media strategy has been a long time in coming. Based on recent events and my own actions, below is a list of my new guidelines to maintaining what I’m going to call social media etiquette.
1) I will not intentionally offend or antagonize anyone in the social media space. Enough said.
2) I will not respond to those who intentionally offend or antagonize me. However, I will give almost everyone the benefit of the doubt at least once. While I did not respond to the three remarks I mentioned, I also did not unfollow, unfriend or block the users who made the comments. I am hoping my silence speaks volumes and they each will take the hint.
3) I will still refrain from discussing controversial subjects such as religion and politics. I maintain that these are personal choices and don’t belong in social media.
4) If I have nothing positive to contribute to a social media community, I will recognize it and go dark. It’s very simple. I want to be a positive in these networks and I don’t want to be viewed as a complainer.
5) I may swear on occasion. This is not quite a complete reversal of my previous feelings on this subject. There are still certain words I will never type and unleash out into the social media world. However, I’m not going to apologize for my “Damn right” tweet last week. Trust me, it was appropriate.