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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.

More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

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

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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