Having just heard the new phrase ‘Connectiquette’ I decided to look into the etiquette of managing connections online.
Technology has brought us all closer together. Social networks have provided platforms making it easy to connect with long-lost friends and family, new friends, business colleagues and other people who have similar interests, aspirations and goals. They have also become crucial in job search and career management.
However good etiquette is still essential. Its infuriating when you get inundated with asks and requests from people you don’t even know. A simple please and thank you also goes a long way. Social media mimics real relationships. Would you do the following within real face-to-face relationships?
- Jump on the friendship bandwagon without properly introducing yourself?
- Consistently talk about yourself and promote only yourself without regard for those around you?
- Randomly approach a friend you barely talk to and simply ask for favours — repeatedly?
In order to manage and maintain online relationships there is certain etiquette that needs to be followed!
- Typically only connect with people you know and who know you.
- If you are on a professional social network such as LinkedIn and you want to connect with someone you have not met, ask for a referral from someone you know who does have a connection. Explain your rationale for wanting to link and don’t forget to offer to reciprocate.
- Connect. If you know the person and have had positive interaction, your decision is easy. The larger your personal network of people on sites such as LinkedIn, the better equipped you will be in your business or in a job search.
- Unlike traditional face to face networking, your ability to write including grammar matters. It’s shocking how often this element is overlooked.
- Humanise your profile. Social networking is also about real relationships. Let people know who you are and add an avatar and a bio to your profiles on twitter and LinkedIn.
- Be honest and respond. If you’re not interested let them know (in a friendly way).
- Add value to the site- At the end of the day, the thing that will earn you great connections with others is if you add value to the community. This means not submitting content that nobody cares about and not constantly promoting your brand on networks such as Facebook and twitter.
- Think about the consequences of your actions. When commenting on Facebook or writing blog posts, you’re leaving your digital signature. Racial slurs, criticisms without warrant, and blatant abuse don’t work in real life, and they really have no place in the social media world.
- Consider how your comments would be perceived before you actually post them, and think about logic above emotion at all times. Once it’s in the public domain you can’t take it back. It may even be used against you when looking for future jobs.
All of these points add up to one thing—just be nice. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but there’s nothing wrong with being nice to others online.