From January 9 to January 13, Real Simple magazine encouraged all of their subscribers to “be nice on the Internet”. It was the beginning of an annual movement by the women’s lifestyle publication to create a nicer Internet. They said after looking at the “negative impact of rudeness online” they would provide expert tips on etiquette for the age of social media.
While the Real Simple movement didn’t gain national attention, it’s a reminder to all of us to watch out for our own rude online behavior…especially when it comes to Facebook. Facebook can be downright ridiculous when you scroll through your newsfeed. Braggadocios posting about their children, jobs, money, nail polish, clothes, cats, cooking skills and everything in between can make you want to say “screw it all” and cancel your account.
We believe there are three types of Facebook users, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. After outlining those three, I’ll take you through a few tips to make sure you fall into only the first category: The Good.
The Good: This Facebook user posts when they have something important to say or a picture that is unique and fun. They don’t post to wrack up comments and Likes and they never leave you guessing with posts like “Something good is about to happen.” If something good might happen, they tell you what it is. This is a kind, courteous Facebooker who never uses profanity and posts their political or religious views in a thoughtful, unobtrusive way.
The Bad: The Bad Facebook user shows up in your newsfeed a few times per day. It’s usually to make a comment about politics, quote the Bible or post yet another blurry photo of their cat. They also like to post self-portraits where only half their face is in the photo.
The Ugly: This is a person you have definitely considered unfriending on Facebook at one point or another. Their constant barrage of complaints and emotional outbursts in the form of Wall posts is tiring and stressful for all 1,400 of their Facebook friends. They post a lot of profanity and want someone to comment or Like every post they make. They don’t interact well with others and post a lot of ambiguous information (“crying today”, “someone doesn’t love me”, “it’s going to be an amazing day” etc).
- Give all the details. If something is great say what it is and why it’s great. If something isn’t great, don’t post it unless you need help from one of your friends or are willing to provide the details. For example, if you have a big move coming up and need to ask for help or want advice on moving companies, give all the details and expect to get some comments.
- Post only good pictures. Just because it’s Facebook doesn’t mean that blurry photos or photos where only half of your face (or dog, or child or boyfriend) is visible are okay.
- Limit your posts. Don’t be the person that shows up in the newsfeed every single time someone scrolls though. Post only when you really have information that’s worth sharing.
- Keep it clean. Keep posts clean of profanity, nudity, complaints, negativity and even consider using sarcasm on a limited basis. It can be hard to be sarcastic in two sentences and can come across as snarky instead – simply bad taste is bad form.
- Be a good friend. Encourage your friends, like their posts, comment with positive, helpful and caring responses.
You should treat people online how you would treat them in person. Isn’t that the way you want to be treated?
Note: Literally everyday I get asked about Twitter as people understand Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest and even Snapchat. However, Twitter seems to hard to grasp or understand. Here is why Twitter is important. First, Twitter is a newsfeed as people don’t go to websites any more they go to Twitter first and if they see an idea or headline they want to see or know more about they will then go to your website as most people do not think your website has all the news they want or need. Second, Twitter is social media you can find and meet prospective clients and discuss business easily. I am not suggesting you do as many do “thank for following me and here’s my sales pitch.” I am suggesting like every other kind of business connection, you offer thought leadership first in the form of blog posts and great content – why your business is the best business to do business with. Third, Twitter is fun, you can find interesting facts, topics and political pandering. Fourth, most important Twitter is social media like a cocktail party you engage and have conversations with others not just toot your own horn. Being nice will bring you more rewards than just being boastful.
If you need help with you Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or other social media efforts, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @techtionary. You should also follow one of the great social media experts who has worked hard to gain followers and you should consider his services to help you – @evankirstel.