Thursday, March 21, 2013

X-box Reminded Me of Something…Be Nice!

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

The other day my son was on his X-box. He was using his headset which allows him talk to his friends and they can play together without having to physically be together. Things started out fine, but then a disagreement happened, followed by yelling, name calling and a quick end to the game.

During our talk about what happened, I asked if he was having problems with any of these same friends at school. He said no. In fact, he told me that they don't even talk about what they do on X-box at school at all. It’s like any name calling or disagreements they may have never really existed.

It then occurred to me what was going on. My son and his friends were compartmentalizing how they treat each other at school and how they treat each other while playing X-box. At school they joke around and maybe get in the occasional disagreement. But with X-box, they aren't in the same room together as they play so if any disagreement happens, they feel freer to make hurtful comments that they wouldn't normally say in person.

What this example showed me is that basic online etiquette, whether through a video game or your business Facebook page, is something often overlooked. We talk a lot about what social media platforms to use, how to gain followers and how to measure social media ROI, so it’s easy to overlook the simplest, yet most important rules of all:

Use your manners. You may not like what everyone has to say all of the time, but you do have to accept it. Be sure to respond appropriately to negative comments in a way that addresses the situation but doesn’t add fuel to the fire. If the comment is positive, say thank you. Respond to all comments within a reasonable period of time and if comments get too heated, it’s best to take the conversation offline.

Don’t say anything about someone that you wouldn’t be willing to say to their face. As I said before, it’s easy to say whatever you want on social media because people are not held accountable for those comments. Don’t hide behind your computer. Make sure your posts are appropriate, honest and well thought out. Always keep your audience in mind.

Don’t air your dirty laundry. Your business social media accounts are to help build your brand, seek customer feedback and serve as a sales tool. It’s never acceptable to share personal feelings or views. That is what your own personal social media pages are for.

Social media is an incredibly powerful tool and it’s up to us to use it responsibly. We may not see the people we are speaking to, but at the end of the day, they are people and everyone deserves basic respect. Do you have any online etiquette tips? Please share!

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