Your parents instilled manners into your upbringing but chances are they did not include anything about Twitter and certainly not Linkedin. Public manners can be, and should be converted to social media, and technology activities. You can not get much more public than Social Media. There are actually online moderators that will give you a time out if you don't control yourself but it should be up to you to avoid small but impacting faux pas such as coming of as a master correction Nazi, a stalker, or pushy personality.
Social Media can create a permanent snapshot of a conversation. Even if deleted, social media posts can still exist. Keep in mind, social media also insists upon some of the same social rules of real life but some of us are not picking up on that. It can cost you. Bring your executive manners with you to social media. Doing so can open doors for you.
There is a difference between looking and lurking. Looking is ok to do, look at people’s public posts all you want. Also hit the Like button, leave a smile icon, say something. That is the Social portion and the fuel that makes social media go. Doing so introduces you to newer people, broadens your brand opportunity.
Lurking though, that is a little different.
Lurking is when you look at the posts and never show up. If for months or years and never say a word or indicate your presence. It becomes a problem the one day you suddenly reveal yourself! Suddenly you are like, well, a creeper or peeper. Social media such as Facebook is intended to be social not stalker fodder.
Be sure to hit the like button once in a while.
If you silently follow someone for a while and run into them and abruptly know all about say, their new dog, or their vacation… you are going to come off like a stalker. That recipient of your fan behavior is sure to be disturbed and distracted by all of your knowledge of their personal/public life. This is not good.
If you follow along silently, don’t make the only time you publicly comment on a persons Social post, an opportunity for you to correct them publicly. Use PM, private message, for that if you feel your remark is necessary. Nobody wants to be spotlighted by a public argument, this may not end well. The other side is that you might look like a jerk. The other person is cornered into putting you in your place or you will have discredited them. People don't always remember what you said but they certainly remember how you made them feel.
Remember what your mother taught you: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!
These tidbits of etiquette may not seem like a big deal but they are really going to matter to you if you are an entrepreneur and people hire you for your services. Not every conversation will sit well with people and you certainly don’t want to end relationships before they begin.
Unless your opinion on sex, religion or politics has to do with your brand, just stay away from public opinions. Don't invite the drama to your posts, don't comment on others. Think of yourself as a celebrity if it helps, most superstar personalities don't say a public word about the current administration. Those who do sometimes lose masses of followers.
* If you already blew it, there is always Reputation Management, a strategic method of expunging specific online activity. Use our contact form to get more information, you deserve a second chance to make a first impression.