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You are not the Social Media Police

security guard with phone by andrew collins

You’re a savvy blogger and user of social media and since you’re such a maven, you might sometimes be tempted to give a clue to those who seem to violate our friendly blogging standards and practices. This could mean calling someone out on something they are doing on their blog, adding a critical comment to a post, or creating a Tweetstorm about something. Chances are, all of us have gotten steamed over someone’s seeming lack of social media respect and have been tempted to say something.

Don’t.

At least, not in the way you are thinking of doing it.

When your zipper is down or you have a piece of toilet paper sticking to your Louboutins, would you rather have some jerk at the bar point and laugh at you loudly (possibly yelling across the room about it, or worse, sending a Twitpic out into cyberspace)? Or would you prefer to have your cool new co-worker who you came with take you aside discreetly and whisper in your ear and allow you to correct the problem in relative obscurity?

Most of us would choose the second option. And feel indebted to the kind person who helped.

Over at The Cupcake Bandits, Momma Cupcake posted a list of 15 points she thinks you should consider if you are a blogger. The three I wanted to mention to you in this post are:

Don’t hijack someone’s blog in the comments to further your own agenda.

If you have a pet peeve, don’t go around to every blog who does what you hate and comment about how they should be ashamed. There’s a time and a place for everything, and grinding your axe in someone else’s comments isn’t professional. Or nice.
If the person is doing something that is grossly rude or out of line, draft a kind email to them, taking the position of a kindly friend who doesn’t want to see them fail or make a mistake. If you can’t write a kind email, ask a friend to help you. And make sure it’s really necessary to correct the behavior and not just something that bugs you.

And please don’t send a posse to the comments to echo your sentiments.

Never take a holier-than-thou approach.

This includes using condescending language like “Sweetie” when you post! Even though you’re completely awesome, you’re not more awesome than the next Jane. We are all awesome in our own way, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect, even if they annoy the crap out of you.

Unless the post is meant to be controversial, don’t create controversy when commenting.

Don’t create drama where there wasn’t any. Sometimes people are just clueless to your hot-button issues.

When in doubt, just live and let blog.

It all comes down to WHY. Why are you compelled to correct this behavior? You are not the social media police, or the virtual hall monitor. That person is just another blogger trying to make her way in the cyberworld, just like you.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t rock the boat, or you should keep quiet about wrong things, or that you should turn away when you see injustice. What I am suggesting is that you weigh your own reasons for wanting to call someone out, and that you decide on the kindest, most drama-free way to address the issue. If the issue needs to be addressed.

photo: andrew collins, creative commons via flickr

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3 Responses to “You are not the Social Media Police”

  1. I really appreciate you putting your own spin on this!!! It’s not all the time but every once and a while I get really embarrassed that I am a blogger. Some people may not view it as such be we are members of the media…maybe not Pro but we should still show some kind of decorum. Scratch that..let’s just be decent human beings yo. I love the toilet paper analogy. I really fits this situation.

  2. Peaches says:

    EXCELLENT POST. Most of this is stuff I *should* know in the back of my mind already, but it’s good to have a reminder. Sometimes I let myself get so ticked when when someone steps on my toes, but if I think of all the toes I probably stepped on (and continue to step on) I’d shut my mouth right quick 🙂

    That’s for keeping us in check!

  3. Thanks for this great post. It is interesting how blogging seems to “level the playing field” in a lot of ways – it is fairly easy and inexpensive to set up a professional-looking blog. That doesn’t mean that everyone who has a laptop and a blogger account knows all the etiquette behind blogging. Which brings up another point… blogging is so new, who really knows what proper etiquette is anyway?
    It is important to remember that if you throw someone else’s name in the mud… chances are some of that mud will splash right back on you.

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