- Share everything – Okay, maybe everything is an overstatement, but when it comes to social media, you’re trying to connect with people and telling your story. And, let’s be honest, your story probably isn’t a #1 best seller, or at least it’s not going to be without your help. The only way that your friends will find out about the cool place you went, the beautiful picture you took, or the great article you read is if you tell them.
- Play fair – Link baiting is not okay. Neither is black hat SEO. Sure we all want to be popular, to have more page views, more followers, what have you. But, those rules and standards exist for a reason. Everyone else has to follow them and so do you.
- Don’t hit people –This should really be “don’t poke people”. It’s weird and annoying. Just don’t do it.
- Put things back where you found them – Your friend logs you into her account and leaves the room. What should you do? No, the right answer is not to post “I LOVE ‘you’re name here’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111”. If someone trusts you with their account, treat it as if it were your own.
- Clean up your own mess – Nothing you say should ever lead to someone posting a popcorn gif or replying with ‘”troll in the dungeons”. If you ruffle feathers or cause friction in a community, it’s on you to fix it. Don’t be 4chan.
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours – Find a great article? Read a great quote? Don’t plagiarize. Post it to your wall, blog, etc. in quotes with a link to the original source. The source will thank you for the traffic and your friends will appreciate the new information – and give you the credit for introducing them to it. Everyone wins.
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody – Social media gives you all kinds of new ways to offend people and to make them feel left out (public guest lists, places check-ins, and generally ill-timed comments, among others), but it also provides really easy, and public ways to say you’re sorry. That being said, a wall post isn’t the best way to apologize for offending a friend. Pick up the phone, give him a call, and say you’re sorry.
- Wash your hands before you eat. – Sticky key boards are gross and can make you sick. They’ll also cause typos, which don’t help you to show off you’re wit and brilliant rhetorical skills. Clean hands and compressed air are your friend.
- Flush – Um? I guess this could be, don’t let things get all clogged up. So, delete your cookies, get rid of unnecessary tabs, and reboot your computer every once in a while. Also, every month, check your Facebook privacy. The rules are always changing and you might not even know how many apps you’ve approved to access your data without even realizing it.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you – That being said about cookies, there might be some that you want. You like that Facebook always knows who you are. You hate having to type you user name and passwords on every site. If you’ve got a personal computer in a private location (and don’t mind that Google knows everything about you), go ahead and let them stay.
- Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. – Don’t spend all your time on line. You’ll be a lot happier if you step away from the laptop, put down the iphone and get out in nature for a while. (And think what great pics you’ll have to post later!)
- Take a nap every afternoon – Sometimes stepping away from the computer, even for a few minutes, can be a good thing. Try to limit your screen time. Get up and stretch. Your eyes and back will thank you.
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together – Sadly, there are parts of the internet that are dangerous. Stick with your friends and the people that you meet through them and you’ll be good. Here’s a hint, that lady from Nigeria that keeps e-mailing you about the fortune that you’re going to inherit – she’s not your friend.
- Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. – There are so many amazing new things developing in social media every day, and many of them really are amazing. Don’t try to understand them all or be the expert on everything – enjoy them and let yourself feel the awe.
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we – There are new social media platforms and apps being developed every day, but others are also disappearing. Know that nothing’s stable and that there’s always a new killer app around the corner. You want to be cutting edge? Well, the cutting edge is always changing and one day, probably soon, you’re going to find that you’ve been left behind.
- And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.—Social media is about sharing information, but it’s also about taking it in. There’s so much that you can learn by looking, reading, and following. Resist the urge to be the loudest person in the (chat) room. Seek out experts and those with interesting perspectives and learn from them.
Inspiration for this post come from Social Media Today’s “Everything I needed to know about social media … I learned in therapy.” And, of course, Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten.”
Question of the day: What other general advice/life lessons do you bring to your participation in social media?
MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.