The Unwritten Rules of Social Media

The Unwritten Rules of Social Media

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There are unwritten rules of life, love, friendship and business, and now there are unwritten rules for social media.

What are "unwritten rules?" They're unspoken standards to which everyone adheres to in a given setting.

Too dense? "Unwritten rules" are rules that are learned and expected. These are things that you just know, and the problem with social media is that how in the world can anyone just know these things?

There's really no way to unless you've fouled up and learned from your mistakes. So, we'll help you out a bit, because we don't ever want any of our readers to have egg on their faces.

"Friends" Don't Really Mean You're Friends

In the real world – you know, the one that requires face-to-face interactions – just because you call someone your friend doesn't mean that you are. Friendship is earned not granted.

For social media, friendship is granted and then earned. And, in that, people assume the rules for friendship apply to these new, so-called friends.

Just because there's a "friend" connection, doesn't mean that you can act as if you are. Instead, treat your "friends" and "followers" as if they're acquaintances. You know, that random person you met a while back at a cocktail party, got their business card and then had lunch with them?

Yeah. Not friends. Would you call them in an emergency? So, don't assume your relationship, and because of that, ensure that everything you do in and around your "friends" is professional and informal. Don't assume that because you're "friends" that they'll do anything you ask: ReTweet, link, forward or post. You have to earn that privilege.

Just Because You Post, Doesn't Mean It's Any Good

Quantity isn't quality in social media, despite what everyone seems to think. The standard practice is that the more you post, the better your reception will be. But, that's not the case. It doesn't matter how much or how often you make a fuss, it doesn't improve the quality of what you're posting.

Also, posting at a frenzied pace doesn't automatically mean that you're pleasing your followers or contributing, in any significant way, to the collective online dialogue.

What actually happens is that in your flurry, your bad posts are adding to the white noise. You don't have to be first. You don't have to be fast. All you have to be is relevant.

Apps Aren't Your Friends, Either

Don't rely fully on social media applications that claim that they're going to save you time, money and sanity to do your job for you. If you do that all of the time, then you're losing even before you begin. Designed to make any savvy social media maven's life easier, these apps, if used correctly, shouldn't take over online identities, but help.

The point of social media apps is to make you a better blogger, poster, and Tweeter, but it should never be all you use. You still need to add that personal touch. Automatic posting is perfect for static information, contests and any reminder type of content but you should never go overboard.

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