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This blog is part of the 46 Essential Rules of Social Media. And despite its title, it applies to all platforms. And complements The 4 Things Social Media Experts Never Tell You. A holistic solution to problems in social networking. From digital to business, and cyber security.
Originally discussed on Twitter as part of a collaboration, The Commandments above (in particular) can be read in 1463 x 2048 pixels. Which is pretty big. Easy to read. And also, mentally and visually stimulating.
Depending on your device, OS, or platform, Click or Pinch to Zoom, or Scroll and Slide as needed. Try it! Or proceed below. But before you do I must tell you:
There's more to Social Networking than trolling, memes and hashtags. There are real human beings behind the beautiful code, algorithms, content, art and entrepreneurs supporting the ecosystem. And for that reason alone, it pays both to be nice, occasionally ponder what brand you're building through your behavior, and what your ripple effect or contribution is.
You may connect with me here to share constructive ideas, to collaborate, or for assistance. Please note that as with most of my publications, all large images have been hyperlinked with rich informational resource. Outdated links directed to my Twitter page. And quotation marks, omitted for aesthetic purposes.
The following "Commandments" have been edited and rearranged based on personal experience, priority and uncompromising (self-branding) values (and boundaries), —shared with the originators Oscar Del Santo and Calin Tanar:
The proliferation of trolls and fanatics in our beloved chirping microblog & blog has made it urgent to issue some shared guidelines we can all adhere to that can regulate private and public behavior on Twitter and the Blogosphere. I hereby submit the following proposal for your consideration (via Twitter & other platforms).
Thou shalt not judge others’ Twitter or Blogging style. In the Twittersphere and Blogosphere. There are radically different interaction and engagement approaches. Those who follow back, and those who don’t. Those who comment on tweets or blogs and those who don’t. Those who tolerate abuse, unprofessional, uncivil or trite remarks having nothing to do with the substance of a blog (some of which take months, even years, to prepare; fact-check, design or tweet because: all blogs or tweets aren't created equal), and those who don't. Those who moderate their page or blog and those who don't, etc. They all have the right to manage their accounts and time as they see fit. And no one has the right to impose their preferred style on them. [# 7]Thou shalt not spread rumors. Purposefully misleading or lying in Twitter or any Social Network Site hurts people and will get you into hot waters sooner than you think. Some wait, patiently collect, collate and use such data for cyber bullying, stalking or harassment lawsuits. Your illicit and illegal activities may appear entertaining for a while. And even if/when it doesn't immediately get you in trouble, your actions sow seeds of deep mistrust between people who otherwise would be getting along just fine. If you are unsure of the provenance of a piece of news or gossip, don’t report it; if you know the source, include it in the original Tweet or Blog. Simply avoid reducing yourself to trite and petty issues, if your maturity, values, or sense of decency so permits. And more intelligently, ask. And if you have a reputation for being fair or respectful the originator might respond. See [# 6] above or below. Beware of sensational, unqualified ‘breaking news’ or fake news, and check twice before retweeting, creating your copycat/ME-Too blog to sensationalize or exploit anything at another's expense. [# 10]Thou shalt not applaud sexist, racist, homophobic and other discriminatory, slanderous, defamatory or libelous statements. Even if they are done in jest, I hasten to add. The last thing we need is for Twitter or any environment that deems itself civilized, to become fertile ground for bigots (as in intolerant people of all stripes). Expose them. And don’t laugh at their jokes. Click below to learn about Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou, who was sent home during the London 2012 Olympic Games. [# 4]Thou shalt not demand answers to your queries. Private or public tweeters or bloggers are under NO obligation to reply to your queries. Especially, disrespectful, inauthentic, sophistic, uncouth or unprofessional ones. Let alone solve your doubts and problems. Don’t be demanding when you don’t have a right to be so. The world owes you nothing in this regard. Strangers certainly don't. And pretending you know people you don't, and their personal stories or circumstances, whether because you met them once or twice somewhere, is just another unabashed declaration of ignorance. If not lack of adequate education, self-respect and critical reasoning skills. [# 5].Thou shalt not demand RTs (i.e., re-tweets) or approval of your comments. If you wish for others to retweet your content, by all means feel free to ask. But please remember...you are not entitled to demand it. Others may not always appreciate their value. Or simply will not want to become associated with the content or tweet in question for reasons they are under no obligation to justify. [# 6] Click below.Thou shalt not patronize others. If you hold any views as to how others should write their profile, forum comments, blogs and/or manage their public image and their account, write a post or tell them privately or simply begin by asking your self: Am I willing to feed, clothe and pay the bills of this individual? If your answer is NO. Then you should rethink your sense of entitlement. But don’t patronize them by lecturing them publicly: it’s arrogant, condescending and shows rather poor taste. [# 1]Thou shalt respect freedom of speech. Everyone is entitled to disagreeing with others’ political and religious views, musical, cultural and TV preferences.
That doesn't mean they are ignorant or incongruent, but simply that their views and preferences are not yours which is why you should learn to DO YOU, instead of sitting back and lecturing others on how they should fry, boil, roast and post content in your image and likeness. Learn to live with and respect that. [# 3]Thou shalt not debate sectarians, dogmatic, highly opinionated and disrespectful netizens. Twitterland and Social Media in general is sadly rife with sectarians of the Left and the Right, defenders of the only true faith and fundamentalists of all political, religious/non-religious and even sporting persuasions with whom engaging in debate is a futile and at times counterproductive exercise.
Don’t be tempted. And if they become a nuisance, just block them. [# 2]
Thou shalt not copy other people’s content. If other Tweeters, Bloggers or content creators online post original content, you are under the moral and legal obligation to give them credit respecting the original Creative Commons or copyright license if you republish it in your web or blog. Acting otherwise is a...violation of piracy laws and simply not acceptable. [# 8]
Thou shalt not spam. Spam is one of Twitter and Social Networks' worst enemies and a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against spam must be permanently enacted to preserve the integrity of the microblog, blogs and moderated pages. Spamming, broadly defined, includes obsessive stalking (whether of one's Personal Page, a forum, blog or other space on a Social Network site) with insults and other abuse and over-the-top negative antics by people who were in the past rejected (see #6 above); whose abusive or disrespectful comments were removed or deleted; and those who lost arguments and/or still hold grudges and therefore want to be heard. Say ‘no’ to spam under all its guises and report spammers. [# 9]
Intelliseek CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Peter Blackshaw and Microsoft executive VP Frank Shaw once said, and I quote: “Bloggers are more of a threat than people realize, and they are only going to get more toxic. This is the new reality...The potential for brand damage is really high...There is bad information out there in the blog space, and you have only hours to get ahead of it and cut it off, especially if it's juicy.”
Writing Attack of the Blogs in 2005, Forbes' Daniel Lyons said: “Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective...The online haters have formidable allies amplifying their tirades to a potential worldwide audience of 900 million”.
Well, I've been, and constantly am, on the receiving end. And I know exactly what Lyons is talking about. No matter how many times you repeat it, there are people behind computers lacking associative, critical thinking and basic cyber security/privacy skills, commensurate good judgment, and even Cultural Competence to navigate the web with perspective, foresight, and adequate practical understanding that Personal Branding is not an academic luxury.
That's what Voula Papachristou (above) learned. And I like how ESPN's Tim Keown opens. “You can view...Voula Papachristou as yet another in the long line of folks who allowed technology to run ahead of their brains and suffered the consequences. Or, if you're the more charitable and forgiving sort, you could view her as a victim or her own hubris. Someone who failed to heed the first unassailable rule of social networking: Nobody cares what you think until you think something abhorrent and feel compelled to make it public.”
When we talk about thinking before connecting and/or posting therefore, what we're saying is: Have all the fun you want. Assume also, that others “take this, that and the other too seriously”.
But don't blame others when from employers to media, business associates or prospective clients, baseless frustration, bad judgment and keyboard warriorism all comes back to haunt you.
It doesn't matter where you're playing offline and tweeting stupid jokes. Or online somewhere. As a Twitter follower of mine says/quotes on her page: “Life is an Echo. Everything comes back: the good, the evil, the truth, the false. So, give the world the best you have”. Otherwise, remember: consequence is no coincidence where digital footprint is concerned.
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