Social Media Needs an Etiquette Lesson
by Judy Davis – The Direction Diva
As a military spouse I don’t know how I would have survived before social media. It’s the way I communicate with my husband when he’s off training or on deployment. It’s how I research new duty stations and keep in touch with my battle buddies. Heck I even use it as a marketing tool not to mention that it’s the perfect way to chat with my extended family.
Social Media is incredible but at times it seems to be the perfect breeding ground for misunderstandings, bullying and OPSEC issues and let’s not even get me started on social etiquette. I’ll never understand why people broadcast their private business only to get upset when someone comments an opinion on the subject. Newsflash people; social media is SOCIAL, and it’s up to each of us to use it in a way that isn’t harmful, hurtful or judgmental.
Remember back when we were kids on the playground and we all were taught that if we wanted to play with others then we needed to have good manners and play nicely; sadly that isn’t always the case, especially in social media. It’s as if the likes of Facebook, Twitter & Google+ have become a mine field for bullying and intolerance, and frankly enough is enough.
It’s gotten so bad that just the other day when a new spouse posed a question about a challenge she was having with her children all hell broke loose. A simple innocent question was met with a barrage of meanness, judgment, and a questioning of her ability to parent. This bullying trumped the advice and support this poor woman was looking for, and it needs to stop. Truth be told, like the bully on the playground, we need to come together and put an end to this type of behavior, because that is not what social media is all about.
I believe that social media is a place where we should all go for connection, entertainment, support and information. It’s not somewhere to have our opinions belittled or our lifestyles called into question, and in order to do that we need to operate under the same “rules” or “social media” etiquette, don’t we?
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had to adhere to a few basic “do’s and don’ts” similar to the billboard on the playground that states the “rules” which are designed to allowed us to play “nice” with the other kids? If I were the social media “enforcer”, my billboard of social media etiquette would look something like this:
1. Air your dirty laundry. Truth be told nobody, except the nosey gossips, wants to hear about the drama going on in your life via a post on Facebook or Twitter.
2. Belittle attack or bully another person for their opinions, questions or input. In short: PLAY NICE!
3. Say in a post, comment or tweet what you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
4. Share someone else’s business.
5. Tell us about your sexual relationships and pillow talk – trust me we DON’T care.
6. Tag people without their permission.
7. Post negative or rude comments especially if they involve your job, your spouse’s unit or another person.
8. Post vague comments. It’s annoying and makes people think you are just looking for attention.
9. Criticize or complain all the time. We want to support you and share in your life but SHEESH everyone can find something positive to share once in a while right?
10. Put up a post that broadcasts where you live, when your spouse deploys, where your kids are or any other thing that could put you or your family in danger.
11. Post about tragic events/deaths/illnesses until you are sure that each immediate family member or connected persons have all been notified.
12. Get involved or react to insulting or baiting posts. It’s a lose-lose battle and makes you look like a fool.
13. Jump to conclusions and assume the worst of people based on a single post they have shared.
14. Stalk. Hey don’t get me wrong I love looking at pics and catching up with old friends, but there is a difference between catching up and stalking (aka looking for info and pics with an ulterior motive).
15. Just take. Just like in real life, social media is a give and take relationship. If you want people to support and “like” you, share the love!
16. Keep your and your child’s safety in mind. Don’t post pics with locations, names etc. unless your profile is private.
17. Update your privacy settings and PLEASE for the sake of those of us who don’t care that you’ve reached a new level or got a high score set the “only me” on your app settings when playing games.
18. Stay positive and encouraging.
19. Realize that social media posts, pics & profile are used in the hiring process as well as in courts as evidence all of the time. So don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want to discuss in front of a judge or that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.
20. Stay away from Drama.
21. Walk away and turn off all social media when you are angry, hurt or frustrated. You will regret a post made in anger I promise.
22. Share your life in a fun, honest and realistic way.
23. Engage regularly, participate in groups and share your knowledge and experience with others.
24. Create and participate in discussions and issues that you are passionate about.
25. Strive to make a positive difference in the lives of the people who follow and friend you.
Judy Davis a.k.a. The Direction Diva is a military spouse, motivational speaker, author and blogger (http://thedirectiondiva.com) that inspires military spouses to become stronger and more resilient “One Moment at a Time”. For Tools, Inspiration and Perspective (T.I.P.s) follow her on Facebook or tweet her at @JDavis55.