I guess I’m still fairly new (in the grand scheme of things) to the world of social media, but one rule has resonated with me from the beginning:
“Don’t be a dick.”
I forget who exactly decided this was a golden rule of social media, but I applaud them and try to remember that at all times. While sometimes being a dick is so easy and tempting, taking the high road pays off way more often than not. Before I get all high and mighty, and go into a boy scout-esque ramble about playing nice, I have to mention that I understand where the assholes are coming from…
People get annoyed by even their closest friends – its obvious that people are going to be annoyed on a semi-frequent basis by the thousands of tweets, status updates, and blogs that fly around on a minute to minute basis. Trust me, I want to just shut people up all the time, but restraint is a wonderful trait to carry – I guess it’s the PR side of me talking there.
Now back to my point –too often, I see social media heads trying to bring down others in the space for the simplest of things. They’re going beyond the point of being contrary to create conversation or a solid discussion and to a place that does neither. Being an asshole because you feel that you’re smarter or have a great point, doesn’t get you or anyone else anywhere. It creates enemies, burn bridges, and usually kills any potential for a mild-mannered, objective conversation.
I love debating people and think that there needs to be more of it – we need to find a middle ground… but I see that this is hard to come by. On one hand, there’s too much, “Wow, this post is the greatest thing I’ve ever read” or “I love it!” and on the other hand, there’s too much “You’re wrong” negativity.
In these environments, there needs to be a level-headed voice of reason to bring what is being shared into an atmosphere of conversation and debate. Otherwise, we have our communities looking like the fiasco that is Washington, D.C. (the government, not the city).
If you are being dick or questioning others just because you have nothing better to do, stop it… Its like the girl in high school who just walked around saying, “I’ll just say whatever I’m thinking to your face and not care, that’s how awesome I am.” Guess what? Even her friends hated her.
It doesn’t help anyone’s cause, nor makes you seem smarter than the next person. If anything, those who take the high road come out looking much better than anyone else.
For what its worth… Look at those who are thriving in social media – they’re engaging and start conversation through thoughtful questioning. 99% of the time they are NOT being a dick… so why should you be?