We all are living in a new culture. A connected culture. A culture that cares about everything someone is doing. Who they are with, what they are thinking, what things they like, their opinions… we want it all. We live in a culture where tweep, selfie, and hashtag are legitimate words in the dictionary. We live in an online culture, and in the palm of our hands we share with the world our everything.
But as a participant in this culture, I fear that many are abusing the outlets we have to share our lives. There are many avenues to update the world on our endeavors and most of them are through social media. I’d say on the whole everything is mostly fine, but sometimes we just need a little reminder on the Do’s and Don’ts and the etiquette within social media.
Let’s start with the most ubiquitous of the social giants, Facebook is everywhere. Facebook has transformed into its own beast – it can’t really be compared with anything else. We all use it differently, but there are some areas that need to be defined for the betterment of society.
Length of Post: Here is the best rule of thumb for a Facebook post. If Facebook automatically cuts it off by a “see more” button then it’s too long. Let’s try and keep our thoughts concise. It’s not a mind-dump like Twitter, and it’s not a dissertation or a Blog. Facebook is so versatile for sharing experiences, asking questions, posting opinions and generating conversation.
Content of Post: Pictures, questions, a commentary are all great of course, just remember the Golden FB rule of moderation. Always remember that Facebook if your personal network. It does you no good to post entirely about one thing (working out, politics, libertarianism, etc) to the point that people can’t stand you. Mix your agenda in with your life updates, questions and pictures. People prefer variety. Facebook is not a soapbox. Also remember that no one particularly likes or enjoys ambiguity. Mysterious jabs at ex-boyfriends or whimsical posts about your secret love are not for Facebook.
Quantity of Post: There really shouldn’t be a reason you post more than twice a day. In rare occasion maybe, but on the whole posts should be concise and sparing.
Picture Count: As many as you want- just remember to do them all at once. Facebook is the perfect online database for your memories so dump them all there.
Now let’s move on to Twitter, the social media preference of the up-and-coming generation. Twitter is a very versatile tool that is used by both junior high kids and CEO’s. It can be powerful and useful but unfortunately can also be abused.
Length of Post: This one is easy, Twitter has a built in character limit. I would say though that if you’re always reaching the character limit you need to work on your tweets.
Content of Post: When it comes to Twitter you need to decide which kind of account you have. Is this for work? For play? Is this your soapbox? Your comedy practice? Whatever it may be, you need to commit to it. Twitter is definitely the place for ambiguous posts, rage rants and just about whatever else. But remember that you are probably not going to secure many followers that way. People are most likely to remain following you if you are funny, informative, or otherwise interesting.
Quantity of Post: As many as you want for the most part. Just remember though that Twitter is still a network, and if you are live-tweeting every little thing, you will more than likely lose followers fast.
Picture Count: This is similar to tweets. Too many can hurt, but for the most part, it’s at your discretion.
Some call it the Facebook alternative, Instagram posted such a threat that Facebook bought them for a billion dollars. Let’s refresh our Insta-Etiquette
Length of Post: An Instagram should be the highlight of your day. It shouldn’t be the story of your life. When they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, that picture should be your Instagram. Don’t bog down your beautiful sunset with 30 hashtags and a touching tale. Keep it simple, keep it direct.
Content of Post: This can be entirely your call, but I always recommend something worth showing. People understand that you have a cute kid, but is this picture any cuter than the last 10? If not, maybe don’t post it until he does something truly adorable. The same goes with food or scenery. If you really are having a magnificent or interesting feast – throw it up there… but if it’s the same thing you ate last week, maybe hold off.
Quantity of Post: This one I can’t stress enough. Please try and keep it under 2 in a day. On rare occasions should there be more than one post and on even rarer occasions should there be more than two. An Instagram picture should be the highlight of the day, not one of many highlights. If you are looking to dump lots of pictures use Facebook. Then, pick the best one and put that one on Instagram.
Picture Count: Again, once a day at most is the best rule of thumb.
Now there are plenty of other Social Media outlets out there. Some general advice would be to know your audience. Vines are great if you are funny, but not great for really anything else. LinkedIn articles don’t always have to relate to some current event and turned into business principles. Snapchats are a fun way to communicate but just taking a picture of your face and saying you are tired isn’t really doing anything for anyone.
Now I can’t say I speak for everyone. Of course many people will disregard all of this and continue to post the way they think they should post. But from my experience and in the small research I’ve done, I believe that most people would agree with this simple advice.
For better or for worse social media is a part of our lives and culture now, and we can all be a little bit better at cultivating our news feeds, tailoring our tweets and enhancing our Instagrams. #MicDrop