12 Most Transferable Real Life Skills to Social Media
There is nothing really new under the sun, it is said. This is so true, especially when working or playing in the “new” social media.
Whether you use social media for fun or business, real life rules still apply. Those who have forgotten the old school ways of communicating or who decide to make up a new set of rules, could end up running into a brick wall without even knowing why. What follows are common sense pieces of advice, culled from good old real life to help you stand out as someone whom others want to engage with online.
1. Practice humility, squash pomposity
Don’t go around parading your wondrous qualities to anyone who’ll listen. People will see you coming and run for the hills. In social media, squash the urge to brag about how successful and awesome you are ad nauseaum.
2. Review your manners guidebook
In case you’ve forgotten how to be polite because of your diminishing real time interpersonal relationships, brush up on those skills and transfer them onto your Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ streams. This refers to posts, comments and tempering the urge to call people out whom don’t agree with you. Also, resist the urge to use excessive foul or insulting language.
3. Be cognizant of those who pay attention to you and reciprocate
Just like in real life, when your neighbor has asked to borrow a cup of sugar; you remember that favor next time you need the egg for the meatloaf and feel no shame in asking for it. In social media, if someone has retweeted your tweets and “liked” your whatever it is, be a pal and recognize the good deed by sharing their blog post or article, or vote for them in a contest. A thank you or comment is a nice touch too.
4. Don’t be a nudge
That is, asking your doctor for free medical advice at a party; or legal advice from your attorney at the ball game, or inside info on tax loopholes of your accountant at the grocery. So, why would you harangue the savvy internet techie on every platform you see him or her on?
An occasional question here or there is fine, but there is a fine line between that and being a complete pain in the tuches.
5. Don’t take advantage of generosity
Would you call your friends and ask them to donate to every cause, girl scout cookie drive, or soccer league raffle? No, because soon caller ID will warn them to have your messages go straight to voice mail. Similarly, don’t ask your online friends to donate to every cause, friend in need, etc. Mind you, there are exceptions; when it’s a good friend or colleague that is in trouble for various reasons, health or financial and you have the funds; by all means, be generous.
6. Respect diversity
Don’t you hate the person at the cocktail party or bar who loudly disrespects people based on their race, religion, sexual preference or political party? Same deal in social media. Save your rants about politics or other incendiary topics for your personal posse of like-minded individuals. You could inadvertently turn off huge segments of recently friended Facebook folks or business contacts.
7. Know when to turn off and shut down
As in real life, when you overload on work or projects, you need to accept the fact that you have to wind down and relax. Social media overload is becoming a strain for many who find their time sucked up by so many fascinating social media platforms. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and others can be addictive, so pull the plug and take a break now and then. Play monopoly or read a newspaper. You know, those things made of wood fiber with black and white print? Even better, find a friend and go bowling.
8. Pay it forward
If someone does something exceptional for you, keep that energy going and do something amazing for someone else. Without even being asked. This could come in the form of a job recommendation or gift to a charity, cause or help with a personal hardship. This transfers over to social media all the time and feels just as good to give. And if you believe in karma, it will come back to you.
9. Don’t be late
Wouldn’t being late to meetings at work or lunch dates be considered rude and inconsiderate? Same goes for chats and online conferences or webinars. In Twitter chats, at least read the stream to see what you’ve missed and where the conversation is going. After the mea culpa, introduce yourself and join the proceedings.
10. Refrain from divulging too much information
Have you ever been in situations where your friends or acquaintances run off at the mouth about every single, mundane detail in their life? Then you can’t even stop them because you can’t get a word in edgewise? Hence the irascible commenter imposing 10 Facebook posts in a row or 30 tweets in a row about their breakfast, lunch, thoughts about life, their kids accomplishments, and their travel plans that you’re supposed to be made envious about.
11. Watch your profanity and sexual overtones
Stuff like cursing and sexual jokes can be misconstrued and insulting to many in real life. So it is in social media. Know your audience, carry yourself with decency and respect your audience. Borderline harassment is just not cool in real life or print. Not everyone appreciates stories of your past or current excesses, nor gets a kick out of exotica or explicit jokes. There is no such thing as private; not only will your “friends” see this, your prospective employers or business prospects will too.
12. Lighten up
Don’t take everything too personally, since hopefully your skin has thickened from years of dealing with mean, petty, awful bosses, friends, spouses, etc. If you read something you don’t like, whether it is directed at you or others, try not to get involved in angry rants. It’s probably a waste of your energy and will only serve to make you feel worse. Turn the other cheek and go outside and play.
Professional and personal relationships are hard enough to sustain in real life, and maybe even harder in the interwebs where not everybody knows your name. Keeping a reality check on who you are and how you want to portray yourself in social media is the key to your success on these platforms.
Which real life transferable skills do you smoothly transition into social media?
Featured image courtesy of JanneM via Creative Commons.