10 (Plus 1) Random Golden Rules To keep in Mind When Using Social Media

Ta Dah!  An actual useful, “how to…” post.

The following list is a few choice tidbits on dealing with Social Media – focusing on Twitter and LinkedIn (I’m a long time non-fan of Facebook.  How much time do you have? Yes I’m there but not yet entirely comfortable.).  Of course accompanied by the usual disclaimer – “In my humble opinion the following is very good advice…”

1.  Remember it is a public forum.  “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, does not apply.

2.  Social Media is yet another tool and will not replace any of the tools you are currently using.  You will have to pick your demons carefully because you do not have the time to be brilliant on all platforms and you have to do them well. Choose wisely.

3.  LinkedIn – This social networking site is less about how many than about how good. You are expected to know your contacts and to be able to recommend them to others.  Remember people want to connect to you to use your reputation and access your contacts.

4.  Use LinkedIn to keep in touch.  Supposedly these are your most essential business colleagues.  Make sure they have your most up-to-date details.

5.  Consistency is king! If you use multiply forms of social media, say the same thing on all.

6.  Twitter might be a daft word and tweeting a seemingly frivolous activity.  Still, make an effort to be interesting, informative and real or no one worthwhile will follow you.

 7.  As much as possible (for your own sanity) try to use one social media platform to populate another.  Examples;  Tweet your latest (or relevant) blog posts on Twitter to drive traffic to your blog and website.  Use Tumblr to add content to your blog.  Post your Twitter on your website/LinkedIn. etc

8.  If you don’t want to tweet/blog/connect/follow and you still feel it is an integral part of your marketing plan (because it should be), hire someone else to do it. Delegating is OK, getting help to manage it better is OK too.

9.  THERE ARE NO OVERNIGHT SUCCESS STORIES!  Those people who say they made 3 million pounds in 18 months with their blog, yes they are trying to sell you something!

10.   If you decide Social Media doesn’t work for you, you really don’t have to stay.
How To Permanently Delete Your Account on Popular Websites – Here

Plus 1 – Finally – Always remember:

People do business with people they know and 
people they like!
So you are assured I don’t take myself too seriously:
Me as the reigning queen of Social Media
Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, Australia – 2005

Don’t Blog – Tweet – Post – Facebook This – The List

Seems a bit ridiculous to say this as we’re all chatting away happily being oh so friendly, but sometimes it’s a good idea to remind oneself of the really obvious.
Although it’s very tempting and it’s so easy to do, there are some things you shouldn’t say using Social Media (probably shouldn’t even say any of these at all, in any format).  Because, ALWAYS  remember once you put it out there, there it is
1.  Don’t complain about your customers on Twitter. They are listening. Very silly to have a moan because if you’re Tweeting/Google+ing/Facebooking for business, you’re really hoping they are paying attention!
2.  Anything defamatory – you can get sued.  Remember to be nice or leave.  Because if what you say is really bad, well then they can make you pay.
3.  Money stuff – What you make, what you spend, where you bank etc.  Why don’t you just give us access to your money?  Some unscrupulous fellow would love to collect these tidbits about you, eventually getting the whole picture.
4.  In business disclosing conflicts of interest. Do you want to stay in business? And why did you get involved if there was a conflict anyway?  What kind of business are you running?!
5.  Your schedule.  Yes, let the burglars know the best times to break in.  They wouldn’t want to be disturbed.
Be savvy and sharp and keep your followers
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
6.  Other people’s stuff (unless it’s really relevant to you and you have asked permission) – it’s not your news to share.
7.  Too many details about your kids.  Include them yes, but be prudent.
8.  Don’t get defensive about negative criticism of your company or products. Deal with any complaints more appropriately.
9.  Don’t share anything people can use against you because someone might and you, the Bozo, gave them the ammunition!
10. That you’re having an affair, think about having an affair, know some else who is or is thinking about it. Same for embezzling, stealing a car, working on your own version of the Italian Job etc.
11.  The online world doesn’t need to know if you have a problem with a coworker or your boss.  Be a grown up and deal with them directly.
12. Don’t spam your friends and followers.  Actually, don’t spam anyone!
13. Bodily functions – why would we want to know?
14. Family dramas. It’s not just about you and it’s really not our business.
15. How much you can drink or did drink – same for drugs.
16. That you are planning to lie to someone/ take a sick day/ do anything really stupid that will adversely effect your reputation. Seriously are you 5?
Show a little respect and love online
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
17. Hint at your passwords.  You never know who’s paying attention.
18. Spread insults, lies, and rumors about friends, family or colleagues.  If you wouldn’t say it to their face don’t say it at all.
19. Tell the world you’re going on holiday. Brag about it when you get back instead. Oh and post up a few pics 🙂
Don’t think hiding behind a cleverly named anonymous avatar makes any of the above OK.  What goes around does come around.  Just you wait.
Even after all this, I’m sure you’ll find something fascinating to share online.
Keep smart and keep safe.
And keep your friends, family and followers!

Be Nice or Leave – Manners Matter Even When They Can’t See You

 Preamble to Tirade

I’ve been online for about 20 years now (hey librarian here, as the original keepers of information we were one of the first to get all this good stuff), and have been heavily engaging with Social Media for about 5 years.  The majority of people I interact with online have been family, friends, clients, colleagues but since my plunge into Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my own websites etc., there’s the eventual possibility of everyone on who’s online anywhere – well maybe not everyone.
I have excellent Customer Service skills.  As a librarian and Canadian,  I genuinely mean it when I ask if I can help, and I can tell you to have a nice day with complete sincerity (hmmmm maybe not complete sincerity, but it sounds like it ☺).  Not that I’m a pushover, I chose a profession that provides service to others so it helps to be friendly, and I grew up in a fairly well-behaved place where most people are quite polite (until they get on their ice skates and you give them a stick).  Not that it’s Eden, of course there are rough edges, but mostly, we just get along.  No, it’s not a bland place either, it’s a lot less hassle to be polite so we can get on with our own thing.
OK, so you get the picture. I’m friendly, polite, respect other people’s space/ideas etc. I’ve worked in service for 30 years (including too many years as a waitress while at university and other naff, but terribly important jobs), volunteered, lived abroad and globe trotted extensively so I have quite extensive experience of human behaviour.
And before I launch into my diatribe, I will emphasize – most people are really, really nice, decent and completely unlike the losers I’m will be haranguing on about next!
Your choice!
Provence, France – 2007
Rhino painter unfortunately unknown
The Tirade
Shift formats and remove the human interface to enter the online world. 
Why, oh why do some people think it’s acceptable to become the playground bully and start playing nasty? 
Who are you and where do you get off!!!!!?
I know there are examples of bad behaviour everywhere in “real life”.  Even in the playgrounds of Canadian librarians but it’s not the norm.
Get online and it’s rife with mean spirited entities (I use entities, as some of these culprits aren’t even people, they’re bots written by some cretinous individual).  I’m not even going to start on spam, scams and emails from long lost relatives in deep, dark places.
My tirade here, is about plain ordinary, uncivil, incredibly boring rude behaviour from those small-minded individuals who abuse Social Media and are hurtful more than harmful.
A couple of examples:
1.  Unliking your Facebook page because you won’t be their “friend”
2.  Announcing on Twitter that they are #unfollowing you because you are boring/stupid/insert descriptive word of choice here
3.  Stalking you and tell you off for “unfriending” “unfollowing” “unconnecting” from them 
4.  Editing a tweet and then Retweeting it as the opposite of what was intended
5.  Sarcastic comments anywhere, with no attempt at irony or wit, just mean
6.  Ambushing an online conversation so it becomes all about them and their agenda
7.  Just plain telling tales
Honestly, what’s your point?
Rude behaviour on Twitter has become so prevalent that there is a term for a Twitter abuser – Twanker – “(noun) a person, organization, or company who uses bad form on or exhibits bad behavior on Twitter.”
Of course this term has since been “rebranded” or highjacked and is now cool in that anti cool way they have now.  You can’t even behave badly on Twitter without making it some kind of marketing ploy!
There’s a lot of serious online chat and research into this “rudeness” phenomena and why it’s so common in Social Media.  I’ll mention one article here:
I think the most interesting point is “moral disengagement.” The safer someone feels (i.e. anonymously hiding behind a computer), the more distance they have from the consequences of their actions, the easier it is for them not to care.
Fortunately, I have very little regard for the feelings of bullies and small-minded, mean-spirited individuals so I use the tools Social Media has given me.
Until you play nice I will continue to:
    – Moderate all the comments on my blog
    – Block
    – Report uncivil behaviour
    – Unfriend
    – Unconnect
    – Unfollow 
    – Uncircle
    – Delete, exterminate, get rid of in all its guises!
And mostly—-IGNORE
Because I do realise the bullies out there are only seeking attention.
Do you have any experience with online bores and bullies and what tips do you have to deal with it?  I’d love to hear your ideas.
Thanks for listening
A rose for the really, really nice people
i.e. most of you
Church Stretton, UK – 2009