How not to become online rude: seven rules of etiquette in social networks

Norms of etiquette will be appropriate always and everywhere, especially if you consider yourself an intelligent person. And it is not about when it is decent to take off your gloves or raise your hat as a sign of greeting, but about the rules of etiquette in the modern world.

Social networks, which have firmly taken an important place in everyone’s life, are used not only to show their life, but also for work purposes. But often we encounter a lot of negativity and aggression on social networks. Teenagers are especially susceptible to this, since 70% of pupils and students now study remotely and spend almost all their time on social networks. They communicate online, do their homework, check in with teachers, and make friends online. But many are exposed to cyberbullying, needing college homework help, because it’s hard to get all the knowledge you need to do your work remotely, and many often get negative backlash from both teachers and those same friends.

But, be careful, because psychologists have found that an hour on social media undermines self-confidence.

Nevertheless, good tone and common sense are relevant always and everywhere, including – when communicating on social networks. What “rules of decorum” are important to observe to ensure that communications are effective and do not violate the personal boundaries of others? And what counts as a mauvais ton?

The Point editorial board turned to social media experts with this question.

1. Let’s be friends: friending everyone

As social media has evolved, its users have become more selective about their online surroundings. Many people care about who they share content with, for example on Facebook, and what content they “absorb” themselves in the newsfeed.

What is the right way to be added as a friend?

According to observations by consultants in the field of PR and SMM , there are different approaches to the formation of Friendly: someone adds all, someone – only those whom he knows personally.

“In any case, thanks to the button “Follow” it is no longer a problem – you can follow the updates of all the people you are interested in, even without adding to your friends, – said the expert. – If it is crucial for you to make friends with a person, it makes sense to introduce yourself and write a couple of phrases about why you are interested in communication. This is as simple and straightforward as a cover letter to your CV.

You can argue: what is the point – after all, the information about the person can be read in his profile? The fact is that the person you want to be friends with online may not have the time or desire to visit your page. And sometimes all friend requests without such “cover letters” are simply deleted: if there are hundreds of requests, it will take more than one hour to analyze them.

2. Owl habits: night letters

It used to be thought that it was improper to call after hours, but it was no problem to write letters. But in the age of active smartphone use, almost everyone has messengers installed. Is it correct to write on work-related issues in social networks at any time of the day – after all, at three in the morning the message signal can wake up the addressee? Or is it the recipient’s own responsibility – can you set a silent mode if you wish?

“The ethics of business communication, as well as general culture, does not depend on how often you use a messenger. Therefore, I would not recommend writing on business matters after the end of the working day.” – I know there are people who work through the night – but that is their choice. Like other people’s choice to divide their time into work and private. And these boundaries must be respected.

By the way, this position is becoming more and more common, even at the legislative level. In France, for example, a law was passed last year on the right of employees to “disconnect”, that is, not be on call after hours.

3. Smart content: how to fill your page or group

If you want to use social networks not just for content consumption or entertainment, but for professional use, it is important to create content thoughtfully.

Irina Sergienko, managing partner of the agency of strategic, content and SMM-marketing b2b hub, suggests asking yourself the questions: “What do I know best? What in my job or business captures me?”

“If you own a beauty salon, you can publish musings about how a change of hair can change your life and add inner strength, about new technologies and trends in beauty,” the expert gives an example. – If you like social networks and marketing, talk about the new Facebook algorithms and how social media has changed the world, and so on.

According to Irina, relevancy and “adequacy” of the articles are equally important: “You should choose fresh and useful articles, not “dead content”. If you publish news, double-check the reliability of the information: Facebook now even monitors fake news.

4. Voluntarily-forced: adding to groups without asking

The desire of group creators to get the maximum number of participants is understandable. But it is important not to cross the line. For example – how correct is it to add a person to your group without his consent?

“Adding to groups without permission is spam. The same kind of spam is advertising messages in private. People are banned for that, and rightly so.”

You can’t argue with that: if you draw an analogy offline, it’s like taking a man by the hand and taking him against his will to his institution, for example. Who would like that?

Invite to your group should be only those for whom it may be relevant – for example, correspond to professional interests. And don’t send an invitation right after being added as a friend. It is desirable that a communication took place before that. In addition, adding to groups is meaningless without interesting content.

“In order to interest your subscribers, you need to post interesting and useful content that other members of your team are willing to support with likes and reposts.” – Without the support of employees and like-minded people, the business page becomes meaningless under the new algorithm.

5. Business emphasis: perception in professional environment

How do you choose content for your social media page if you care about how you are perceived in a professional environment – for example, by employers and clients?

“Social media more often than not serves the function of bragging rights. Of course, a post about “fails” may gain popularity – it is not the first year that events like FuckUp Night take place and stories like #myfirstwork are published, where successful people tell how they started.” – But usually it all comes back to the idea of “I’m better than everyone else. Be like me.”

It is important to fill the page with content that may be useful to others. Irina recommends sharing impressions from the books you read, even if they are not related to your profession; to tell about the events you visit, you can – with a short video from the event, if the organizers allow it. Photos and videos from work are quite appropriate – both from a serious rally, and from sit-ins during the lunch break (with the latter the expert advises not to go overboard, so that it does not seem that you are idling).

A great option is humor that is related to your professional field: according to Irina’s observations, this is a good way to get more likes and reactions. So is provocative content.

“Just do not need to go to extremes. It’s enough to raise some issue for discussion, find out the opinion of colleagues, share a life situation (“What would you do in my place?”),” the expert notes. – The main purpose of such content is to get feedback in the comments. Now the algorithms of social networks are updated, and comments are more valuable than reactions and reposts. You need to use this resource to the maximum.

It is best to think a few times before you bring a personal conflict to a social networking discussion. It may turn out that the situation could have been resolved amicably. And the publication is not a sparrow.

6. Mine and someone else’s: using other people’s content

“If you share other experts’ articles – describe briefly what you think of the situation or news, add the best quote of the article. Even a “No comment” comment is better than nothing.” According to the expert, pages with a lot of reposted articles and links to sites without any comments do not inspire confidence and resemble pages of bots. And be sure to indicate the source of borrowed content.

Preferably, at least 50% of the content should be original. “Share your experiences and cases, even if they were not very successful – then you can write what you got out of it,” recommends Irina.

7. Bad advice: What not to do.

Of course, the personal profile is your territory, and you can use it at your discretion, no one is forcing you to read it. But there are “beacons” that, in the experience of experts, affect the perception of a person’s image in the social network negatively. It’s better to look more closely.

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