Conducting Myself Online

I’ve been blogging for 3 years, Facebooking for about 5 years and tweeting, on and off for about 2 years. It’s been quite an education. I’ve learned so much about myself and about others throughout all of these ventures. I LOVE it! I’m passionate about social media and believe in its power to make or break ones own personal “brand”.

I’ve been cyber bullied and bad mouthed and been the victim of a smeer campaign, you know, when a group decide to target you for some specific reason and the cattiness and bitchiness grows as the pack mentality grows. Its definitley a symptom of the anonimity that our online persona allows us.

If you’re an avid internet user you don’t have to look too hard to find examples of poor online etiquette.

Throughout it all, I’ve made lots of mistakes, I’ve attempted to defend myself against cyber bullies, I’ve attempted to justify certain behaviours. I’ve been invovled in lots of, in hind sight, silly online fights.

It has all been a learning curve for me. I’ve learned a lot. It’s changed how I conduct myself online and it has changed how I view how others conduct themselves online.

These are some of the rules I’ve made for conducting myself online:

1. Cyber-bullying: It’s NOT ok!

You don’t have to like everyone you come into contact with online and you certainly don’t have to agree with all the views and opinions expressed online. But that does not give you permission to embark on a bullying campaign. It does not give you license to go on a self righteous judging spree. You should not feel entitled to embark on a name calling, bad mouthing, bitch session. You should not feel encouraged by the mentality of your pack, making sure you sink lower than the lowest nasty, judgy, name calling comment.

I firmly believe in the old expression – if you don’t have something nice to say (or you can’t say it nicely) don’t say anything at all. I personally won’t buy into the – if you don’t have something nice to say, then sit next to me!

2. Calling somebody a Looser on Facebook makes you the biggest looser!

And makes sure I’ll unfriend you or hide your as quick as a flash! I can’t stand it when people sink to name calling and cat fighting on Facebook. It say so much more about ones own mentality than about the person you’re trying to call out. I’ve unfriended or hid a number of people on Facebook for this, depending on whether its a relationship I want to continue to invest in or not.

3. Differing opinions are ok!

Not everyone will always agree with my opinions and I won’t agree with everyone elses opinions either. This is perfectly ok. If somebody chooses to not agree with your opinion, then respect this fact. There is no need to try and force others into your opinion. Getting involved in an argument over differing opinions is about as helpful as an empty toilet roll. If you’ve expressed your different opinion, leave it at that, there is no need to try and force someone else to agree with you.

4. There Is NEVER a good reason to be nasty!

Nastiness is a trait I simply detest. It’s not in my nature to be nasty or spiteful for nasty or spiteful’s sake. I see it as completley unecessary and I simply don’t understand or tolerate it. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but nasty is not a label I chooose to wear.

5. The meaning of the written word can often be misunderstood or misconstrued.

So give the writer the benefit of the doubt. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t automatically assume they’re being nasty/stupid/spiteful/ a know it all. And don’t try to call the person out on it either – who made you the boss of the internet to do that? This I experienced first hand a few months ago. I said something quite innocently on Twitter and was literally attacked for it – and this from someone who is a social media “guru”. It left me stunned and embarressed as my motives had been totally innocent.

6. Don’t talk “shop” online!

I’m often shocked by the amount of times I’ve come across people bad mouthing their employer or saying mean things about their co-workers. Wanna get fired? I reckon it’s on of the fastest ways of finding yourself without a job. My online persona is completley separate from my profesional persona. I simply will not mix the two, it’s just asking for trouble. My job is not perfect but you can go back in my blogs 3 year history and you will not find one negative post about my employer or the company I work for. That is a rule that I made for myself right from the very beginning.

7. Unfriending/Hiding/Unfollowing the people you don’t like.

I have often found myself irritated, offended or annoyed by people I’ve come across online and have found that the most effective way of dealing with them is to hide or unfriend them on Facebook, unfollow them on Twitter or delete them out of my blog reader. We’re all different and we’re never going to like everyone we meet online so why waste the energy blogs, tweets and status’s you find annoynig? I’ve found it a far less waste of my time to simply remove those elements from my viewing and its far better to assisting me in sticking with my online mantra of “being nice”!

I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot latley, as I navigate my way through the internet. I recently stumbled across an excellent article that really helped me solidify the rules I have for conducting myself online, you can go here to read The 11 Rules Of Social Media Etiquette its well worth the read.

What rules do you have for conducting yourself online?

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  • Reply Gwen

    My only “rule” is to post everything I write under my real name. That has a major influence on how I behave online. Doesn’t mean I’m always nice, but I don’t think I’m nastier online than in real life FWIW.

    July 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      The difference though Gwen is that while you’re straight forward and honest, you are never nasty or mean for nasty and means sake! Being honest is one thing, being a total troll is a completley separate issue and troll is just not a word I’d use to describe you!

      July 11, 2011 at 9:18 am
  • Reply Marcia (123 blog)

    Love your rules, Sharon.

    Mine are quite simple.

    To be as real, honest but decent about anything I post.

    And yes, to never ever drag my employer into anything. Of course life isn’t all sunshine and roses but I actually like where I work and would like to keep my job πŸ™‚

    And absolutely never to be nasty – there is enough meanness in the world without adding to it. Of course I feel riled up sometimes but that’s what the little cross on the corner of my screen is for πŸ™‚

    July 10, 2011 at 9:38 pm
  • Reply To Love Bella

    I agree with alot of your rules. I have unfriended heaps of people on FB who I have seen as being negative or just totally inappropriate. If what is being said is totally offensive, I will hide or unfriend – or even go so far as to block.

    July 11, 2011 at 8:54 am
  • Reply Mash

    There’s another thing I hate – online whinging. I’ve hidden all the friends on facebook that only post about how sick they are, how tired they are, how boring their lives are, how wrong wrong wrong everything is in the world. At the end of the day, social media is a form of entertainment, it needs to be fun! I also feel no guilt in hiding FB friends whose posts take up my entire home page, I really think that people that are posting 10 times a day on FB need to get a Twitter account. A very good friend of mine does this, and I’ve hidden her! I know that for some people I post too often on FB, and it doesn’t bother me if they hide me πŸ™‚

    July 11, 2011 at 10:51 am
  • Reply Bratty

    Unfortunately there is a price to pay for being open “Online”….I have a choice : On facebook, I am very selective about my friends…
    However, I do have an open blog…therefore I have opened myself up to “comments”..and that is okay…if I do not like your comment, I will delete it but I will not let it affect me. My blog is my opinion…should you not like my opinion, thats okay…that is why it is my blog!!! I have spoken about my Employers on my blog…however I have also spoken to them about what I have said on my blog…so if they every came across my blog “Well…we have addressed these points before”

    I do not believe in posting nasty comments on other peoples blog…If a blog “pi$$ed” me off, I would have to carefully thinking about whether it was directed at me or if it was just my perception…

    In reality having online rules is nice…however, in a world where laws are not followed which protect basic needs, it is unlikely that “online” rules will be adhered too….therefore, it is better to take the comments with a pinch of salt and a giggle..and move on…

    But overall, the one of the benefit of Online correspondance is that sometimes you get honest…where people IRL will tip toe around you, on line some people are brutal honest…and as much as we don’t like it, it does get us thinking…..


    July 11, 2011 at 11:03 am
    • Reply Sharon

      I agree with what you’ve said above, but when I’m referring to people talking about their employer I’ve seen people make statements like their boss is a dickhead on twitter or FB, can you imagine??????? :0

      July 11, 2011 at 11:08 am
  • Reply Paula

    Absolutely agreeing with all of the above. I have made it a rule to delete anyone that keeps on upsetting me and it really has made a lot of difference! Recently I quit the online forum I belonged to and that was actually such a liberating thing! I also always ask myself if I really want people to know what I am about to say.

    I have the learnt the lesson the hard way that when people think they are talking behind your back they will say the awfullest things, and many times mostly because of the pack mentality you mentioned. So for me, that is a big no-no. If I find out people have been skinnering behind my back, delete delete delete! That is not on at all!

    July 11, 2011 at 11:47 am
  • Reply Julia

    Love your rules. These are mine:

    Be authentic.
    Leave your employer out of it.
    Don’t blog about an issue if you haven’t discussed irl with your partner or whatever.
    No bullying.
    Differing opinions are OK. Having said that, it’s not WHAT you say but HOW you say it.
    Actually, I don’t put pictures of my children online in any form. It’s my issue and I don’t judge anyone else who does this. This might change in future but for now it’s what I feel comfortable with.
    I stay out of arguments and online disagreements.
    I have been very lucky to only get lovely, kind comments on my blog but I would not hesitate to remove a rude comment.

    July 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm
  • Reply sue stuart

    I try as far as possible not to judge anything said by anyone, I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes and so I don’t know what may have caused a comment that I disagree with or dislike. If someone is asking for opinions, and if I have one, then I will give it. Otherwise, I’d rather not say anything.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:49 am
  • Reply Laura Allmayer

    Like Gwen I have always used my real name – never really seen the point of being someone else.

    I dont have any major rules except to be polite and treat people as I would like to be treated!

    July 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm
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