We’ve all fully integrated social networks like Twitter and Facebook into our daily lives. Both at work and at home, we use these resources to share the things that are important to us.
Unfortunately, we also tend to share things that are unimportant, inappropriate, or just plain offensive. Whether you’re old-school or hot stuff, there are certain mistakes that everyone makes when they log in to share.
Here are the top three faux pas to avoid at all costs.
1. Getting too personal
This is the first, and by far the worst, of social media offenses. The problem with this crime is that no one believes he or she is himself a culprit.
Social media amplifies certain personality defects while masking others, and if you have a tendency to over-share in person, even your best efforts at self restraint may not be enough to keep you from looking like a socially inept weirdo online.
This means if anyone from your professional world has access to your social media profiles (and they do!), then your level of professionalism in posting and sharing, and even “liking” and commenting, has to be equivalent to the level of professionalism you exhibit at the office. Period. No exceptions.
If you wouldn’t wear that Halloween costume to work, neither should you post pictures of yourself wearing it on Instagram. Sorry.
Now, if you’re a student, a retiree, a career waitress, a surfer, or some other exception to the general population, your standards may be less rigid. Fun-times pics are acceptable, but pictures that showcase your body parts, that feature you in a shameful position or in excessive states of drunkenness, pics in which you are playing tonsil hockey, crying, or posing your baby/animal are still considered inappropriate.
Additionally, if you’re sad, frustrated, lonely, or otherwise emotionally busted, keep it to yourself. Emotions to be shared via social media include: joy, enthusiasm, awe, astonishment, wonder, excitement, curiosity, and so on.
2. Using automated greetings
Nearly as bad as posting multiple daily pics of your dog sleeping, or your baby burping, automated greetings are the digital equivalent of punching every new friend you make. Unequivocally, automated salutations are spam.
Whether they come from friends, co-workers, or businesses that are trying to make a buck, they make people unhappy, and should be avoided by all who prefer to be “liked.”
3. Making a scene
Let’s face it, it’s easy to get hot under the collar when some nincompoop lowlife espouses his hair-brained ideas in your digital vicinity. We all know that inflammatory statements on Reddit are posted by a troll some 9 out of 10 times.
Those we can ignore with grace, but what about on Facebook or Twitter when someone you’re loosely acquainted with proves he’s politically across the spectrum from you? Even though evidence strongly suggests that arguing online via comments fails to change minds, and actually hardens the opposition and self-righteousness of the other person, we sometimes fail to see the wisdom in silence.
The thing is, arguments that occur in cyberspace stay there eternally, which makes forgiving and forgetting preternaturally hard, and allows new friends, lovers, enemies, and potential employers to dig up defaming evidence against you. This falls under the #notworthit.
Now that you know what not to do, you can use social media without waking up in the middle of the night, panic-stricken and regretful. Still, it can be hard to know how to use social networks well, especially for small businesses and older folks who weren’t born holding a smartphone.
The best solution is to find a reliable web resource that offers “How To” guides for a variety of tech-related issues and challenges. Once you get the hang of one new gadget, app, or social site, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to navigate the rest.