Manners and Social Media
You might have read the story of the British grandmother who used Google for the first time and this was the phrase that she typed into the search: “Please translate these roman numerals mcmxcviii thank you.” PLEASE and THANK YOU! It has never occurred to me to preface a Google request with “please”, let alone thank it for providing a wealth of information at my fingertips. It was refreshing to see that someone was still using good manners, even when interacting with a computer. It seems like basic manners are becoming less common, even in customer service. Last week, I ordered a drink from a fast food establishment and when the individual handed me the drink, I said “thank you” and his response was “yep.” Yep? First of all, I’m guessing that his company trained him to thank customers for their business versus waiting for them to say thank you, but I could be wrong. Another place where I’ve noticed a decline in manners (some might claim that they never existed here) is on social media. In fact, you are more likely to log onto a news feed full of hostility rather than anything resembling manners.
Today is Mashable’s 6th Annual Social Media Day, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about hostility on Social Media and share some tips to help you avoid falling into the abyss known as the social media argument, where no one ever wins.
According to VitalSmarts (2013), social media Shostility is on the rise and there is evidence that it is now spilling into real life:
Of course, we can all relate to feeling “braver” behind a keyboard, which would explain the statistic suggesting that people tend to be less polite on social media. With the sheer number of controversial issues in society right now, it can be very difficult to avoid getting caught up in conversations related to hot-button topics that can take a turn for the worst in the blink of an eye. We should all feel free to express our opinions we just have to be aware that it can come with risks ranging from backlash from friends to disciplinary action from employers. One thing that we can do to keep our posts “in check” is to ask ourselves these 5 questions:
If you’re “on the fence” about whether or not to post something (especially if you are angry or upset), type out the post, walk away for 30 minutes, and if when you return you still feel like it is appropriate, then post. This will help ensure that you aren’t impulsively posting out of anger.
Finally, don’t lose sight of the fact that social media can be fun! Have you seen the Huffington Post Facebook video of the dogs trying to catch things in their mouths, but they totally fail? I challenge you not to laugh. So, it’s not all bad. It still enables us to stay in touch with friends and family and to share photos of our lunches (and we all know how much people LOVE those pics, right)?
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