SOCIAL MEDIA / NOV. 17, 2014
version 7, draft 7

How to Exercise Social Media Decorum

social media

If you’ve been keen enough on social media trends lately, then you’ll notice that a lot of attention has been geared towards boosting one’s presence online. Talk of gaining MORE fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter or even Instagram for that matter, a lot of pressure has been placed on the ordinary social media user to gain MORE and MORE. Yet what we fail to realize is that without exercising social media decorum, then our efforts will simply be short-lived. And just for the record, decorum is simply prescribed etiquette that is in tune with good taste. Having said that, let’s first look at the common decorum mistakes exhibited by many social media users:

  • Lack of a Defining Identity - I think a defining identity is key when it comes to social media decorum. Reason being that whenever people look at you, they want to see a defining image that they can relate to. It’s just like in politics where we find that every politician has a defining way of addressing various issues raised by their fellow citizens. A way that their followers can relate to. This defining WAY is the key to having a defining identity. 
  • Egotistical/Self-Centred Tendencies - The mad rush for fame has considerably boosted the ego of many social media users. Consequently, this has turned many into snobs that simply show off. This will definitely be seen in bad taste especially if you’re not such a big celebrity after all.
  • Poor Social Skills - Another big mistake that can literary chase away potential friends on social media is poor social skills. How do you interact and connect with friends on social media? Do you show common courtesy when addressing their issues, or do you give lazy feedback when more is expected of you? Is your connection with them deep, or are you simply being superficial?
  • Sharing Generic Content - Sharing what ’everybody’ shares will simply not be tolerated for the long haul. Yes, you might entertain for a while, but soon enough, no one will give attention to you because they’re ALREADY used to what you’re sharing. Plus, people require you to be unique, so they would be utterly disappointed if their high expectations were short-lived. 
  • Poor Language Skills - First off, I’m not saying that you exercise grammatical excellence. But still, you should understand whom you’re dealing with. For instance, you can’t use sophisticated English when targeting young audiences. Similarly, you can’t use simple English when you’re dealing with a professional fan base. Ultimately, it’s up to you to use your intuition to establish the perfect balance for your language skills.

Now that we’ve cleared the air, let’s address the issue at hand...

How Does one Exercise Social Media Decorum?

#1 Take note of key Attributes that make you stand out from the Crowd

For you to exercise social media decorum, you’ll need to establish your own boundaries. But this can’t happen unless you figure out those defining attributes that make you stand out from the crowd. There must be something different that you’re doing that makes you seem special in the eyes of your social media followers. What is it? Is it the eloquence of your speech? Is it the positivity in your words? Or maybe, you’re simply a witty personality that knows how to tickle the fancy of their fan base. Whichever way you look at it, there is a defining taste that your fans can relate to. And as we mentioned earlier, a defining identity will help you establish which social decorum rules suit you best. Speaking of which...

#2 Discover the Common Preferences and Distastes of your Following

There must be a common agenda that attracted people to your social media account. Even social media platforms encourage one to seek for friends that share common interests. On the flip side however, there must be something annoying that your fan base can’t tolerate one bit. For instance, you can’t be a professional figure that hurls insults on social sites. That would not be taken kindly and in fact, you might end up losing some very important friends on social media. As long as you’re aware of the boundaries of distastes and preferences you’ve established, then you’ll have a smooth sailing. And one more thing...

#3 Avoid Unnecessary Friction that might Tarnish your Image

Disagreements on social media will always be there. We’ve all heard of ’beefs’ (slang for disagreements) and ’tweefs’ (twitter beefs) where you find big shots settling scores. Or it might be two ordinary folk trying to sort out a very controversial matter. It’s quite acceptable to engage in sober and meaningful debates. But we all know how things tend to get out of hand especially if the two warring parties won’t give in. What follows next is a flurry of insults which destroy your image and make you look bad. That’s why for social decorum’s sake, you need to discern the battles worth fighting from those worth losing.

From what we’ve gathered, it seems that social media decorum is a very flexible subject to say the least. An acceptable norm to one person might be an insult to another. Ultimately, it all boils down to your level of maturity. As Alain De Botton once said, "Maturity is knowing where you’re crazy, trying to warn others of the fact and striving to keep yourself under control."

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