I Wear My Sunglasses Online – Social Media Behavior Tips
I was speaking to a client of mine last week about her company Facebook page. She currently has over 13,000 fans for both of the companies she manages – 26,000 combined! This quantity of fans is a small business social media marketer’s dream and, in some ways, also their worst nightmare.
I complimented her on the professional way she handled the illogical complaints that appear from time to time, having just viewed one before we talked.
“People can get so mean on social media,” we remarked.
I said it was like wearing sunglasses. Statistically speaking, people are a lot less afraid to confront someone and speak their mind when they are wearing sunglasses than when they are without. It’s simple: direct eye contact strips one’s defenses down until it’s just them; not an intimidating, impersonal mask on top of the real “them.”
My client said it was such a good analogy, I should write my next blog post about it.
Tips for Online Behavior
I brainstormed a short list of tips for both brand influencers and individuals regarding how to "behave" online.
#1: Don’t Say Anything Online You Wouldn’t Say In Person
We all know what the bottom of our shoes taste like, that is, after we said something stupid we wish we never did. You can delete things on social media but after they’ve been seen they are out there.
It’s a good practice not to type anything online you wouldn’t say in person. Truly, social media has become a crutch for the anti-social and a voice for the closet belligerent, but it’s a medium – neither good nor bad – it can be used for whatever the individual or brand desires, which are often amazing and wonderful things.
#2: Be Nice
How many times have you seen or heard the phrase: “Mean people s[tin]k!”? A lot. Well, mean people on social media can be worse, because everybody gets to hear about it.
We’ve raised a new genre of bully: the Facebook bully; but we’ve opened the door to a new breed of heroes and positive role models too.
It’s a good habit to re-read your email (especially a professional one) first before you send it out – at least once – and focus on any sarcastic negative tones. What is humorous to you may come off downright evil to the intended reader. The same applies to social networks. Be careful.
When I was a teenager, the internet was just getting started; and I remember this kid I knew got picked up by the cops. When I asked why, I found out he was being weird on a chat room and scared this girl by pretending – via the chat room – that he was outside her house, etc. Pretty stupid. Scared the s[tuff] out of the girl and got him a record.
The moral of the story is: be smart and play nice.
#3: Be Aware of the Times
This one I got from The Social Media Breakfast Syracuse.
There are disasters and national tragedies and there always will be. However, social media is not disconnected from them. Posting anything during a major disaster will make you and your brand seem pretty heartless.
This is especially important for auto-posters. Sometimes I use Hootsuite. It’s an amazing, time-saving tool, but it doesn’t come with a Richter scale. Catch it if and when you can.
Take Them Off
That song “I wear my sunglasses at night…” was in my head from the abovementioned conversation until now (and even now), so I titled the blog post as such. (I probably got it in your head, ha ha.)
Online integrity is crucial in today’s society and sometimes it’s good to take your “social media sunglasses” off to keep yourself in check. Being true to yourself has always been important in person, but it’s time we all apply that principle online as well. Or as Han Solo (Star Wars IV) would say, “Don’t get cocky!”