We live in a highly connected and instant world. Communication flows at the speed of light. But, this is no reason to let all standards of polite behaviour go out the window. Even as we communicate remotely, through screens, we need to be mindful that we are still talking with another human being who also has feelings.
With this in mind, here are the most over-looked manners I have noticed when communicating on social media.
It is important to ensure that the tone of the communication is clear and cannot be misunderstood. When you cannot see facial expressions to help explain the meaning of a message, clarity in tone is essential. Is there a way your words could be misinterpreted? What can you add to be sure they are not?
Be nice, be encouraging and be kind in your words online. No one wants to be put-down, discouraged or judged, especially in public online.
On the flip side, don’t be quick to take offence if the tone of a message you received feels arrogant or aggressive. Is it possible you may have got the wrong tone of the message? Clarity in tone is key.
Freedom of Speech Comes with Responsibilities
We are free to say what we want online. However, if we pride ourselves in being responsible adults, we will remember that outspoken and controversial opinions can hurt others. They can also be like a red flag to a bull and attract a lot of negative response in return. Words posted online have a habit of coming back to bite the poster in the long run, especially if the words are cruel or hurtful to any group of people. Share your grand statements in private with friends, rather than on the world stage via twitter.
Grammar and spelling still matter
Sure, short messages to friends and family can be full of abbreviations and emoticons, but emails and public posts in forums are much nicer when the correct spelling and grammar are used correctly. We aren’t teenagers anymore and shouldn’t try to keep up with text message generations who have forgotten how to spell words correctly and in full. Misspelt words and poor grammar only serve to dilute your message. Keep the focus on your message and not on a careless spelling mistake.
The more we communicate by technology the more important it is to follow these basic social media etiquettes and remember that communicating online should be no different to how we communicate in person. In doing we can keep our online interactions classy and kind, and hopefully remind others to do the same.