Happy World Social Media Day!
It’s no secret that we love social media. And as Grammarly’s Social Media Manager, I’ve devoted most of my professional life to figuring out what the cool kids are doing online. And today, I’m here to help you do the same. Let’s dive into all the things you should (and shouldn’t) be doing on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
1 Write, Reread, Ponder, Then Post
I’d wager that 99 percent of social media “fails” could have been avoided if the poster had taken thirty seconds to reconsider that tweet, comment, or post before hitting publish. Before you post, ask yourself the following three questions:
1. Do I mean what I said in this post? Am I comfortable with how it will be shared?
2. Will I be proud of this post one, three, five years from now?
3. Does this post hurt someone else? Could it hurt someone if they found it?
Those extra few seconds you spend avoiding a grammar mistake or embarrassing photo are worth the wait. Remember what your mom told you: Facebook photos are forever.
2 Don’t Join a Social Channel Just Because It’s Hot or New
If you’re the trend-obsessed, meme-creating maven of your social circles, skip this tip and move on to the next. But if you’re a mere mortal, you probably don’t need to be on every social network in existence. Find a community that resonates with you, and spend your social media hours there. (A personal note: for me, that channel is Instagram, but not everyone loves the ‘gram as much as I do! Follow your arrow.)
3 If You Don’t Know What It Means, Don’t Use It
One of the most beautiful facets of the Internet is its effect on language. From “spam” to “geeks” to “phubbing,” the ways online culture has influenced English are legion. And brand new online slang is as inevitable as it is ubiquitous. But what do you do when you see a new hashtag, word, emoji, or reaction gif?
If your answer is “use it immediately and without question,” it might be time to reconsider your approach. Many brands have gotten into trouble by jumping on inappropriate “trending” hashtags, and we all should learn from their mistakes. You don’t want a milkshake duck situation on your hands.
4 Don’t Feed the Trolls
As Grammarly’s Social Media Manager, I’m no stranger to trolls. We receive dozens of messages telling us to “shut it down” or “go home” each month. But instead of the ever-popular clapback, we’ve chosen to leave the trolls alone to shout into the endless Twitter void.
Of course, avoiding antagonizers is much harder when they’re attacking you personally. The first step is to remember that you aren’t alone: 51 percent of women and 50 percent of men experience online harassment. After that, make sure you know your rights, and follow steps like these to ensure your safety without feeding one of those pesky trolls.
5 Remember, People Online Are Just People
Despite evidence to the contrary, I think sincerity is not yet dead on the Internet. Whenever I look at the wonderfully supportive comments on Grammarly’s Facebook, I remember that there are individual humans behind each avatar online (except bots, but let’s not go there). At the end of the day, you can’t choose how you’re treated online, but you can choose how you respond. And for me, the “social” part of social media is the most important: we have to want to engage with one another as real human people. And of course, I think Grammarly’s follower-people are the best humans.
So on this Social Media Day, I want to say thank you to all of the communication enthusiasts who read, share, and respond to Grammarly’s various musings. We love each and every one of you.
Do you think there should be “rules” to social media? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.