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The ‘Me’ in Social Media: The ONLY Online Etiquette Rule You’ll Ever Need

Run your every social media move through this special "filter" and you'll avoid 99% of the most common online disasters.

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

October 29, 2012 - 7:00 am
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So try asking yourself:

Am I tweeting this tip or news story because I sincerely want to help people, or because I expect praise for how generous I am (and think I can grab a few more “empty calorie” shorter-term Twitter followers in the process)?

Am I trying to sell something (especially something I don’t really believe in) but pretending I’m not? Sounds like spam. Don’t.

Am I trolling for cheap sympathy, cash, or a moment’s attention?

Notice all those “I’s.”

When we’re focused on “me,” we forget all the “you” stuff:

  • sending that email to the right “Bob” (and only him)
  • accusing @Bob of saying or thinking something he didn’t (because you’re in “holy self-righteous anger” mode)
  • posting or forwarding breaking “news” without checking that you’ve got your facts straight, because you want to be first, and this “news” confirms your personal worldview

This is especially true if you do the ultimate selfish thing and operate under a butt-covering anonymous pseudonym that gives you an unfair advantage:

You get to do all the accusing and insulting, without getting caught.

Until (as is practically inevitable these days) you are.

That sad tale above brings us to all those “social media cost me my job” stories.

What almost all of them have in common is a person operating in complete “me” mode:

Everyone will agree with ME that this nasty private gossip is hilarious/George Bush is Hitler/I’m an important person in a VERY big hurry.

Someone once defined good manners as “doing whatever prevents the other person from feeling uncomfortable.”

That is: it’s not really about memorizing lots of rules and pedantically using the “right” fork — but purposely using the “wrong” one, if someone else already is.

Anyhow: if you run your online activities through a reverse “what’s in it for me?” filter, you can save yourself a lot of grief.

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Related at PJ Lifestyle:

If I Were Queen: My First 3 Acts Upon Becoming Your Beloved Empress For Life

7 Laws for Public Decency When I Rule the World

 

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(KATHY SHAIDLE is a blogging pioneer who runs FiveFeetOfFury, now in its 14th year. She's been called "one of the great virtuoso polemicists of our time," by MARK STEYN. Her NEW book is Confessions of A Failed Slut (Thought Catalog, 2014).

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