Rules of Engagement in a Social Media Age

Another post on social engagement? yep. Why? I thought in light of last night’s elections and the “banter” I’ve been seeing, we could all use a good reminder of how to BE NICE. In all fairness, am I always nice? no.. remember Paco? yeah, that wasn’t nice at all. I called my Facebook/Blogging friend Taylor an over stuffed pig. Fortunately, I’m good at groveling and owning my own messes when I create them. Even better, he’s really good at forgiving. Taylor is performing in Oklahoma next summer and I get to go to his show and talk face to face without the shame of unconfessed sin. I love it!

The old me — never would have owned my mistake, or apologized. I simply would have hidden myself away and avoided said person for the rest of my life. — What’s neat is knowing I’m not that woman today. What would be better, is not behaving in a way that requires amends. One of these days, maybe.

This has been a strange week, one day I get drowned by negative comments and snarky remarks, and the next day I meet a new blogger. He’s a young guy, 23 years old and new to the blogosphere. He left a rather funny comment on my blog, and I checked him out. I check out everyone who comments. He didn’t comment to promote himself, necessarily, he just  thought what I’d written was funny. His name linked back to his page and found him to be funny as well. I’m always happy to meet someone new. I enjoy posts like that.

I have a rather eclectic “tribe” if you will. We all come from different walks of life. Very few of us are the same religion, and yet we get along. Why? Because we are respectful of each other. Oh sure, I get the occasional spammers who just want to leave their link in hopes of driving traffic, and yes, I get the ones who want to hit and run – pouring gasoline on some post I’d written leaving behind an anonymous name. I delete those. If you aren’t going to tell me who you are, don’t expect me to listen to you. And as a the host of this blog, I have a responsibility to protect my other commenters. While discussion and friendly debate are healthy, ganging up on someone simply because you disagree with them is not. I delete those comments as well.

Social Media Etiquette is a new thing. As we learn to interact with each other over the internet, we need to remember that the rules that apply in real life — face to face – should also apply online. Sadly we don’t always remember that. Even more sad is when I find out that yes, they are this rude in person as they are online. ICK.

 I have three points that I try to remember and want to pass on.

Be Responsible – Take accountability not only for your posts, but your comments as well. I’m not really interested in seeing a repost of someone elses work on your blog. Write your own content, and follow copywrite laws. Use spell check and don’t misrepresent facts. If you receive compensation for a specific referral or post, FCC regulations require that we report that at the end of our blogs. Double check what you are reporting when possible. Same goes for comments you leave on people’s pages. If you can add to the conversation, great do so. But if you simply want to take away from it and start a fight, move on. Which brings me to my next point.

Be Respectful — There is nothing that drives readership and commenters away more quickly than rude and irresponsible posts and rebuttals. What do I mean by that? My readers don’t always agree with every post, and I welcome differing opinions freely. We just have an understanding. Be respectful in how you comment and how you treat other commentors.  I mediate my comments section and if I see rude or snarky remarks aimed at another poster, I will either issue a warning or delete the offending comment entirely. I’ve seen many blogs that do this rather well (ie.. Randy Elrod, Micheal Hyatt, Carlos Whittaker) and I’ve seen many blogs that don’t do this well. — Those I’ll let you find on your own. — please note: a comment that expresses a differing opinion than mine is not necessarily rude and snarky – a comment that calls me an idiot for thinking what I think and drowning me or someone else in paragraphs of “proof” IS. If you get attacked after leaving a comment, don’t defend yourself, just don’t go back. I’ll give a blogger three tries and if each time I leave a comment, no matter how well it’s worded and the blog owner allows his friends to attack me, or attacks me themselves, I delete them from my rolls, it’s that simple.

Relax Already – It’s not the end of the world if someone disagrees with you or if you disagree with a post. Social media is supposed to Enlighten, Entertain, Engage and hopefully Educate. If you don’t like the tone of something you read, don’t leave a nasty remark, just move on. There are millions of pages to be seen in the blogosphere and not every one is going to be up your alley. It’s okay. The same rule applies if someone doesn’t agree with your take on things. Don’t get defensive and argue back. Engage them in the conversation, ask leading questions. You might learn something.

 Above all — just have fun. Social Media isn’t meant to replace real life relationships. It can however, broaden your horizons and bit and maybe help you learn some new things.


This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart: Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic. All rights reserved. No goods or services were received in exchange for any of the bloggers mentioned in today’s post. I am simply listing them as what I believe to be positive examples on how to engage in today’s world.

3 thoughts on “Rules of Engagement in a Social Media Age

  1. People do not realize that the things they post on FB is PUBLIC and it can come back to bite them later on. I have a son-in-law that likes to “joke” at my grandchildren’s expense, posting things on THEIR FB pages that give a very distroted impression of who they are. My daughter and I have both told him that this is not acceptable but he continues doing it. Then there are the ones who really don’t know all of the facts and post a blast on someone that gets hurt. What has happened to politeness and courtesy? It is now a definite “ME” society.


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