Phone calls to text messages, emails to social media sites, tech savvy users are so sucked into their own little world of tech greatness. Connectivity is at our fingertips and it allows us to be more productive; or so it seems.
I’m not militantly anti-technology; but what happened to those good ol’ days when we used the bathroom as a place to read or come up with ideas to make this world a better place? What happened to those cheerful, albeit annoying scenes at the restaurants where kids play with the cutlery, staining their clothes and wanting to go to the loo just as the meal arrives? I don’t hear those shrieks and cries anymore. Although sometimes, I do hear some grumbling, but only because someone is not able to get pass level 129 on Candy Crush or when the Wi-Fi signal is so weak that they get into a fit because they’re unable to upload a photo of their freshly brewed cuppa from Starbucks on Instagram.
All day, every day, from dusk to dawn – we check our e-mail before we get out of bed, answer more than just a nature’s call in the loo, catch up on a Facebook update or a Twitter feed while driving to work and upload the picture of our meal on a social media site during lunch or dinner. And what’s the last thing that we do right before hitting the bed at night?
It seems that we’re so committed to our gadgets that we’re becoming unaware of how technology impacts people around us. Text messaging and fiddling around with your social media accounts while you’re engaged in an activity or meal with someone is plain rude, but this lack of manners can be unintentional because restlessness turns us back to our mobile devices.
Most of us cause much more damage online than in real life. Remember the golden rule – treat others as you would wish to be treated? Most often, we overlook simple things like this. Always keep in mind that those you interact with online are real people, with real feelings.
Be aware that the more you socialize and the more “friends”, “followers” and “fans” you gather, the chances of you stepping on a metaphoric landmine and offending someone increases too. As Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory would put it, this is when you would be attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis. So think wisely before you put your two cents worth online because people can’t decipher gestures or your tone of voice online.
Last but not least, keep in touch with the real world. Every once in a while, pick up the phone, meet face-to-face, or even write a good, old-fashioned letter. So just in case you need to be reminded, here’s how you can network gracefully in the brave new social-media world.
• Never Spam – This one should be self-explanatory. If you’re a marketer, create a marketing page; well, unless you are planning to get rid of your friends, then go ahead and spam…like a boss! Don’t send mass requests for recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn.
• Get A Room – It’s not #mIRC so unless your chats are rated PG-13, keep it private! And if you want to go flirting with…I mean, carry on a conversation with someone, don’t do it on the comments section of a photo. If you’re a chatter box, use the messenger.
• How Much Info Is Too Much Info? – If you’re a first-time parent and you absolutely love your newborn, then we can accept that. However, there are some things that we can’t accept – posts about your kid’s ‘potty chronicles’ are not things that most people would like to see on their social media feed.
• Vaguebooking – According to Urban Dictionary, Vaguebooking simply means, “An intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help.” If you’re going to post a status like, “I never meant to…,” I’m going to jolly well assume that you meant, “I never meant to…wet the bed.”
• Check-Ins – No one cares about your trip to the cinema for the umpteenth time this week. In that case, I’d prefer that the boss didn’t know about our weeknight rendezvous at the Drink-All-You-Can-Buffet.
• Sir-Brags-A-Lot-Subtly – “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t born with these good looks. I’m drowning in compliments. I can’t thank you guys enough.” Nuff’ said! #kthxbye
• Selfies – The camera-flip function on our smartphones were initially built for video calls, but to heck with that, I’m getting myself a selfie! This trend is totally out of this world; a Japanese astronaut even took a selfie with the deep darkness of the infinite beyond as the backdrop! You self-obsessed, narcissistic generation; does the world really need 12 pictures of your face taken from a flattering high angle?
• Sing-a-long – There will be days when we get creatively bankrupt so we throw in a line or two from our favourite Justin Bieber song list right into the status column (I’m obviously kidding). But somehow, random song lyrics that are out of context don’t always fit the bill.
• Tag, You’re It! – What could be worse than being tagged in a bad photo? Being tagged in a picture that you’re not even in it! I am not the phantom.
• The Social Media Stalker — If you’re connecting with someone new and they don’t already know you, go ahead and introduce yourself. Please don’t follow people around on social media sites like a creep. It’s creepy.
• Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry In Public – There’ll be job interviews that don’t go too well, dates that get cancelled, the boss/better-half throws a tantrum; it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. Facebook is not your personal diary so keep your spats off the web.
• No Missing Links – If you’re searching for someone to recommend you in a public forum, make sure you’re tapping people who are familiar with your job scope. It helps if they like you, too.
• The Name Game – ‘Big Booty Jodie’ – your parents are not going to be quite happy with this. At a bare minimum, use a decent name. Such absurd nicknames won’t hold you accountable for your actions and words, not unless you’re promoting…kinky boots.
• Pick & Choose – Be selective in accepting invitations on business networks such as LinkedIn. This is your professional network – a revealing black book of people whom you believe to be valued contacts. Consider that many recruitment officers will search and invite contacts en masse.
• Show Me Some Love Compadres! – Those endless game requests are equivalent to an invitation asking someone to un-friend you. Only send a request if you notice that someone in your feed is also playing.
• Too Good To Be True – You post up a picture of a little dying baby and told your friends to “Like” it so the poor soul gets funded for her surgery. But, none of them liked it. Such heartless people right? Wrong! If you didn’t know, all of those pictures of maimed people, “dying” babies, and others in need are hoaxes.
• Flood Alert! – It’s nice to post photos of your puppy, kitten and your hermit crab because it makes people squeal in delight, but posting 20 pictures a day with the same subject matter in the frame is, well, unnecessary. If you want to embrace a precious moment with your fuzzy fur ball, we recommend you GIF Shop for the iPhone, an App that allows you to create and edit looping animations to be uploaded on to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. You can still make people squeal in delight.
• #nofilter – Use the #nofilter hash tag only if your picture is not filtered. Most of us can spot a ‘Toaster’ from a mile away.
• Whatever Happens On Facebook Stays On Facebook – If you’re on Instagram, do not take screenshots of something on another social network sites and post them on Instagram. If I wanted to know what was going on with your Pinterest page or Facebook profile, I would’ve looked there, not on my Instagram feed.
• Funny’s OK; Tasteless Isn’t – A funny Nicolas Cage meme or a YouTube link to Rihanna’s song is still acceptable, but if the post is tasteless, controversial, disruptive, or negative in tone, keep it off; furthermore on LinkedIn. It’s a professional networking tool, which makes it easier for people to lose respect for you or not take you seriously.