50 Ways to be a Good Social Media Citizen

Photo by HazelthePikachu
06.28.2012By

Photo by HazelthePikachu

A lot of people tell me that they really find it hard to know how to be a helpful entity in the online space. There is so much contradictory advice, and then each situation seems to be a little bit different- different enough that you’re not really 100% sure what the right move is.

It is with these folks in mind that I thought I would compile 50 rules that I live by. Now, I’m making the perhaps overly optimistic assumption that I am considered a good social media citizen, but beyond that hurdle, I think you might find at least a few of these ideas helpful. So here we go!

  1. Write as if your grandmother could see everything you’re saying.
  2. Read what you’ve written before you hit “send” or “publish.”
  3. Act as if people will be able to find what you’ve said anywhere. Because they can.
  4. Ask if you’d say what you’re tweeting face-to-face.
  5. Offer others the benefit of the doubt.
  6. Do not build yourself up by pushing others down.
  7. Accentuate the positive.
  8. Remember that pointing a finger means three are pointing back at you.
  9. Always try to be helpful.
  10. Do not be afraid to show emotion, but don’t bleed all over the Internet.
  11. Do not assume anyone is less knowledgeable than you.
  12. Don’t judge a person by their avatar photo.
  13. Make “the ask” sparingly and with purpose.
  14. Say thank you more than please.
  15. Try to connect with one new person every day.
  16. Make sure your blog readers/commenters know you appreciate their time.
  17. Do not take your valued connections for granted.
  18. Read before sharing.
  19. Read carefully before arguing or bashing.
  20. Walk your talk.
  21. Only say what you are willing to stand by.
  22. Do not assume anyone will read your words in your intended context.
  23. Remember that shining the light on someone else is twice as powerful as shining the light on yourself.
  24. Be proud but not a braggart.
  25. Accept criticism if it is offered thoughtfully and kindly.
  26. Offer criticism with kindness and care.
  27. Stand up for someone if you see they’re being treated unjustly.
  28. Do not set people up for failure with trick questions or false dichotomies.
  29. Do not follow others blindly.
  30. Do not ask that others follow you blindly.
  31. Do not be afraid to change your mind.
  32. Always look for something to learn.
  33. Do not ignore a person just because they do not have a big online footprint.
  34. Don’t worry too much about your Klout score. Clout carries you further.
  35. Write from the heart, edit with your head.
  36. Be willing to forgive other people just as you want to be forgiven.
  37. Before jumping into a fray, make sure you are 100% familiar with all sides.
  38. Remember that people can’t hear your tonality. A joke may not seem funny to others.
  39. Go above and beyond in supporting others now and then.
  40. Do not look for black or white. More often than not there’s a grey area.
  41. Be open to new perspectives.
  42. Embrace the opportunity to meet people with differing views and opinions.
  43. Acknowledge that you don’t have to know everything.
  44. Accept defeats and victories with equal amounts of grace.
  45. Remember that social media is a piece of the pie, not the whole pie.
  46. Focus on quality, not quantity.
  47. Don’t forget that most Twitter “followers” are spambots or empty accounts.
  48. Do not tag others on Facebook unless you wish to be tagged.
  49. If there’s a question about whether you should share something publicly, don’t share it publicly.
  50. Be kind out of your own desire, not out of a desire to get popular.

These rules work pretty well for me. What rules would you add to the list? Let’s see if we can make it to 100!

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    #47.B I suspect many RTs are bots, feeds, other automated, non-readers.nnIt’s a good list Margie. I’m almost too careful when it comes to bragging, or asking for things like follows and RTs. I wish I had the time to learn all I wanted to learn, read all the good stuff out there – since I don’t know everything. Certainly I try to walk my talk, read before I post, write w/ my own voice – and I change my mind or see a new perspective almost daily. And a big fat WORD to #45!nnI like the sentiment of a lot of these, esp. ones like #15 – but with the caveat that’s maybe #51: Forget the numbers, it’s not about keeping score. FWIW.

    • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

      Thanks Davina! I like your 51 a whole lot. I think a lot of people tend to lose sight of that, too.u00a0

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabrinagibson Sabrina Gibson

    Love this list!! u00a0I would add 51. u00a0Be you – the best you there is so others can appreciate your finest qualities” u00a0and 52. Give – give – give……then give some more. u00a0Give without expecting anything in return. u00a053 Be a connector. u00a0Make a point to connect one person to another at least once a day. u00a054. u00a0Acknowledge others one at a time and be specific as to why you think they are so great. u00a055. u00a0If you make the time to read a blog post….make the time to comment on the blog post. u00a0n

  • rkreines

    #23! So true! thanks for reminding….

    • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

      Thanks! Glad you liked it :)u00a0

  • Marilyn

    Create an editorial calendar so you can plan and integrate all your communication activities. Posted by mediamag.ca.u00a0

  • http://twitter.com/CLGraphics CL Graphics

    I am going to retweet this and I read it. I enjoyed the list and like everyone’s add-ons. i’m sure we all could get this to 100 easily! Have a great day!nu00a0

    • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

      I think so too. They just start popping into your head don’t they? :)

  • Skeffling Farm

    It all boils down to respecting others. u00a0We are all people no matter what our status, everyone deserves the same respect.nnMy Mum always said, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, and that’s how I conduct myself on forums too. u00a0Give yourself the short end of the deal, making sure the other party is reasonable and happy and you will never lose out. nnGivingu00a0others the benefit of the doubt in real life naturally extends online. u00a0nnGreat list! u00a0Very positive.

    • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

      It seems so simple, and yet we so often see people straying away from common sense (and decency) in the online world. Sort of boggles the mind, huh? :)nnThanks for your comment!u00a0