During the past 20 years, information and communication technology has evolved into all kinds of wonderful things, but the key development being the emergence of social media.
The global village created by social media is expanding on a daily basis and shows no signs of slowing down, trampling the rules of decorum that marked the early days of online dialogue.
This is largely fueled by the convenience of mobile technology which has played an essential role in determining the impact of social media platforms in our lives. With just a click on the phone, one is able to communicate to millions across the world anytime and anywhere.
Being basically a social animal, human beings are constantly reaching out with a range of content from serious educative stuff to all manner of gossip and sleaze.
They want to define themselves, prove themselves, nourish relationships and most important of all, remind others that their personal views and opinions matter. Be it about politics, the economy, sports or entertainment, they want to be heard!
These factors have caused social networks to evolve from simply being a means for keeping in touch with friends and family to being used in ways that have a lasting influence on society.
Increasingly, content on social media is shaping politics, business, culture, education, careers, innovation and many other areas of human endeavor.
However a worrying trend is gaining currency; that of using social media platforms to inflict hurt, spread misinformation and all those other negative attributes.
People are ignoring etiquette, the unspoken set of social rules for personal and business behavior online. These dictate how people conduct themselves on social media so they remain not only honest, but also polite and respectable.
There is need for one to be consistent. Some people have accounts on more than one social media channel. It is better to ensure that the information in terms of biography on the different channels is identical. This portrays you as an authentic person and will enable you win the trust of people interested in following or engaging with you.
Use an appropriate image and resist the temptation to improve your looks with Photoshop or similar software. The picture accompanying your profile, defines who you are, therefore it must be easily recognizable. Avoid using blurry pictures and preferably, use the same picture for all profiles on the different social media channels.
Do not post too much stuff. It leaves your account or profile with too much traffic which may result into followers ignoring most of your posts. Give them time to miss you and what you have to say. Having fewer posts also allows you to monitor all of them and pay attention to feedback.
Also avoid long-winded hash tags. Hash tags give posts a wider reach. However, it is not right to use so many of them. This makes the post look untidy and unappealing to those that may see it.
Finally, understand the various platforms’ best practices. Some social media etiquette principles are applicable to all channels, but some are platform-specific like Twitter and LinkedIn. It is always advisable that before you become an active user on a new social media platform, that you read and understand its best practices.