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16 Social Media Rules You Should Never Ever Break

16 Social Media Rules You Should Never Ever Break

Social media is an amazing tool as well as a source of entertainment, news, information and more. Even if you are not on your social media accounts a lot, what you do so can stay with you. In fact, anything you post on Facebook, Twitter or any other account can impact your professional and personal life. And if you are friends or followed by people from both aspects of your life, it’s important to keep your postings to things that are appropriate for both. Your boss, for example, may not be impressed at the sight of you sucking beer straight out of the keg at a party over the weekend.

In addition, don’t think that just because it’s the Internet you are somehow anonymous. The rules of polite society should, in many ways, still apply.

1. Don’t Be a Tattletale

This was true in school and is true in social media, as well. Just because you know someone’s secret doesn’t mean everyone has to! Keep confidential information confidential — this goes for work and friends. If your company is working on something new and exciting, let it be up to the company to decide when to tell. If one of your friends is pregnant or getting a divorce, keep it to yourself until you hear otherwise.

2. Don’t Violate Copyright Laws

It’s fun to post quotes, pictures and other amusing things on Facebook or Twitter — but make sure you attribute them properly. The informal nature of social media does not mean that you can repost someone else’s poem on your blog without proper attribution. When in doubt, use quotation marks! And if you don’t know who wrote something or took a picture, ask your friends; usually, someone knows.

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3. Don’t Assume Anonymity

Just because you post something under a different name, don’t assume no one can find out who you are. As humans, we are notoriously bad at covering our tracks, and unless you also understand the nuances of IP addresses and other tracking technology, be careful what you post online. Many times, a post from a phone or laptop, even under an anonymous account, can be linked back to the owner of the cell phone or the account holder of the Internet service provider.

4. Don’t Be a Bully

Unfortunately, even adults need to be reminded of this entirely too often. Don’t use ethnic slurs online. Don’t sling personal insults. Don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t do in person, at work. Just don’t.  If you would do those things at work, you might want to consider professional etiquette lessons. Or anti-bullying classes.

5. Don’t Friend Strangers

If your only intention is to sell them things, don’t friend people you don’t know. It’s rude. And you will lose your credibility quickly. Besides, if the only things your real friends see online are your posts trying to sell stuff, you might lose them too.

6. Don’t Send Out Game Requests

Or other timewasters to all of your friends. If you and a few friends like playing Scrabble or other games online, make sure you keep the invites and requests to that specific group. Some people are very annoyed with game requests and will unfriend even their bestie for doing this.

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7. Don’t Post Angry

Or intoxicated, upset, over-tired, jet-lagged or otherwise compromised. Do it one time and you’ll see why. Don’t do it at all and you’ll have a happier following. In general, no one wants to see a person who constantly posts negative things. Try and keep most of your posts happy, light, funny or inspirational. If something tragic happens in your life, and you’d like to receive prayers or help, use social media for that. But remember the boy who cried wolf — if you’re always posting sad or negative items, when something truly bad happens, most of your friends might just scroll past.

8. Do Publish Positively

Remember, what you post might be around for a long time — or searchable for a long time. Make sure your posts are positive and reflective of your best side. People who have tried to delete bad or wrong posts often lose because others can take screenshots of that horrid thing and it will stay around forever. Delete doesn’t always mean erase.

9. Do Check Your Online Profiles

Keep your online profiles consistent. If you have social media accounts you no longer use (remember MySpace?), delete them or update them accordingly. Make sure each of your profiles shows information you want the world to see.

10. Do Take Responsibility for Your Online Actions

Did you rant online? Are you genuinely upset with a company for some reason? If you say something and you stand behind it, then stand behind it. Don’t retract or recant. People will often admire your willingness not to retract your story as long as it’s honest and not posted in a hateful way. If you do make a mistake and say something rude or bully-ish,  then own up to it, apologize and move on.

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11. Do Add Value

Whether you are a blogger, real estate agent, doctor or other professional, try to add value to what’s already out there. Do you know of a great new home in the area for your neighborhood peeps? Post it. Read about a new treatment for a disease? Let your followers know. Did you write a great article on the benefits of reading great articles? Share it. People crave information; if you have some, let your friends know about it.

12. Do Show Consideration

Always err on the side of kindness and consideration. If you’re not sure if someone wants particular information posted, don’t post it. Always think about how you would feel if someone posted that type of information about you without your knowledge.

13. Do Think First

Before you post something, think about it. Do your friends really care what you ate for breakfast or how long your bike ride was? Really? Unless you ate at a famous chef’s restaurant, made a cake so unusual and unique that it just begged to be shared or rode your bike from your house to a city far away, assume that some information can be kept to yourself. In the words of the editor of my first book, “you may care about that, but no one else does.” It hurts, I know, to think no one else cares that you ate two scrambled eggs for breakfast, but really…really?

14. Do Tag Gently

It’s fun to tag our friends in our comments, thoughts, posts and pictures, but be gentle. Unless the comment or picture is directly related to that person, avoid the tag. Your friends don’t want their notifications loaded up with tags anymore than you do. If it’s important, tag it.

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15. Do Check for Grammar

You don’t have to be a grammarian, but really, do you want to look like you’ve never read a book — even on a Kindle? How you post (and that includes your grammar and spelling) is a reflection on you and how much you care about what others hear or see from you. If you are posting in a professional capacity, always run your post through a spell and grammar check first. Professionals should always be seen as capable and intelligent. No one wants to go to a doctor who posts, “come n c me 4 grt medicul attn.”

16. Do Participate Online

Nothing is more irritating than being friends with a person who only posts about themselves or their business and never “likes,” comments or replies to anything anyone posts. I have a number of Facebook friends who seem to sit back and just lurk, or even just assume that because they are popular or well-known in their business, that they are too good to “hang out” with the rest of us. Get in there. Wish someone a “Happy Birthday!” Like someone’s pictures. Offer up a little advice. No one likes a lurker.

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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