Author – Kaare Long
Social Media is one of those funny things where it can have both positive and negative effects on a culture and individuals. A medium designed to connect us all, can sometimes leave us feeling more disconnected than ever.
Social Media is a tool, and as such, can be used incorrectly to sometimes create drastic results. Like the ladder not placed properly that fails and falls, or the hammer that is not aimed precisely and hits a finger rather than the intended target.
Social Media is a tool and should be treated with the same respect you would treat any tool in your toolshed to avoid negative consequences.
So how can you utilize Social Media in a positive way to build refreshing, rewarding and empowering relationships both on-line and off? As a tool, Social Media can be used to highlight and encourage relationships in real life, it should not be used to fabricate and manipulate false relationships as a way to avoid real life.
Social Media is a ‘magnifier’ of YOU, the user of the tool. Which means the same social graces you would use in the real world, apply here.
Here are 10 ways that you can keep Social Media in the positive zone, and completely avoid the tragic consequences of a tool not used properly.
Social Media Safety Tips
1. Social Media is SOCIAL – keep it that way.
This is pretty obvious, but such a simple concept it is often missed by many. Social graces and etiquette apply to Social Media as they would in real life. A good rule of thumb before you do ANYTHING on social media is: Would I do this in person? Check in with yourself constantly, and use this simple rule to stay within the normal cultural graces when engaging and ‘socializing’ on-line. Manners work in real life, they work here too.
2. Be Real
People want to connect to other people. So be REAL. Be yourself, share your passions, share your values share what drives you. Being authentic creates warm and rewarding relationships in real life, so it will also have this effect on-line.
3. Toss the Toxic
Toxic people exist everywhere, either on or off line. If you encounter someone negative who displays high levels of aggression and targets you on-line then there is a simple solution – DELETE – Unfollow, block, report. Social Media is under your control, and as with real life, you have the option to walk away from situations that are draining, toxic and unhealthy. Halt the Haters.
4. Don’t whine, complain, or be a toxic person yourself
I’ll say it again – social media is SOCIAL. How many times have you gone to a party and just whined and complained all night about how your cat peed on your couch, or that you can’t stand your boyfriends behavior? If you have, I doubt you were the life of the party. Life can be rough, we get it. But keep your venting private, and for close friends or family. Social Media is a VERY public forum. So if you wouldn’t write a speech about your daily ‘disgruntles’ and share them with a crowd, then the same would apply for on-line – keep whining off the very public forum of Social Media.
5. Do NOT SELL!
This is one of the biggest issues of Social Media today. All businesses need a Social Media strategy these days, but many don’t realize the damage they do by spamming their followers and always sell, sell, selling. Nobody likes the used car salesman for a reason. It’s tedious, obnoxious and narcissistically self focused. You need to sell as a business, I get that. But sell by building positive relationships, not by forcing your product or service down your followers throats.
6. Be a leader
This is especially important if you are utilizing social media for business. Be a positive, empowering and encouraging voice to your followers. Provide snippets of your wisdom. Share things you have learned. Mentor and guide simply to ‘give back’ without wanting anything in return. This is a beautiful act in real life, it is on-line as well. Be a good person.
7. Don’t be lazy
Don’t post just to post. There is no point to it. Have a reason behind every communication you make. Always ask one question before you post – “Why?” Your answer is what your post is about.
8. Be a ‘giver’
Social Media has the danger of creating narcissistic self centred people when the focus is only on me, me ME! In the real world this wouldn’t fly, so it won’t on-line either. Give back. Support others, follow others, comment on articles that move you, like FB posts that interest you. Be someone who listens as well as talks. Social Media can give you a false sense of ‘spotlight’ because you don’t HAVE to listen to anyone. But, you’ll get far more out of it if you do and people will want to hear what you say if you listen to them. Engage with others, don’t dictate.
9. Have FUN!
A little rule I like to bring into ALL my social media accounts either for my own business or with clients campaigns. Have FUN! For pete sakes! Enjoy the interaction and engagement, be creative, be bold and be innovative. Stand out from the crowd by being that sparkling shiny thing that just draws attention in. Be attractive, not reactive.
10. Make it your own
Follow some simple guidelines on etiquette and positive usage – but make social media your own. This is YOUR story, tell it. Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t try to copy or emulate. Just be who you are.
Follow these basic rules and you will find social media will be a positive experience for you. Always check in with yourself. If you begin to feel drained, disconnected and obsessively checking your accounts then take some time off. In real life we aren’t in party mode 24/7 – so the same applies to social media. Take a Break. What you put into it, is what you will get out of it. So be positive, healthy and balanced and social media will mirror that right back to you.