Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Best Practices in Social Media


Gavin over at Servant of Chaos has kindly tagged me for my view on best practises in Social Media.
I'd really like to talk about some of the ways I think brands could be behaving and talking to customers in social media because there's a valuable contribution for business entitites to sometimes (not always) get involved with the emerging media topography, but it's mainly theoretical stuff at the moment as I've not persuaded any clients to put some money and action into where I think they should, or even recommend how to conduct themselves in this enviroment but that will come in due course and I think some new legal entities might need to be established for that because the existing corporate structure doesn't allow for making mistakes and yet humans do that all the time, so unless we want brands to sound artificial we're going to need some human contribution at some point.... As I say, more on that later.

In the mean time I really think it's important to share one golden rule that I learnt the hard way with mIRC (early Twitter I like to say)  back in the mid 90's and through to a couple of years ago. It's crucial in social media to be unfailingly polite and for most people this is the opposite to how they feel behind the security (and often the anonymity and distance) of a keyboard.

Those who know me in real life are fully aware the only power I respect is that which is earnt. I've no hesitation in telling anyone what I think if I believe they are being innapropriate and that's because nobody owns me - It's a two way street though for mutual respect. One has to take it to give it.

However in social media I take a different approach. Despite sometimes wanting to be more combative or plain speaking I try hard to be polite, courteous and silent under criticism in social media. I'm not like that in real life particuarly when I lose respect for people and it's interesting that even those who know me through my blog can sense that. My temper has got me into more trouble than I know where to begin, in the past but it's also saved my life too in violent encounters.

Aside from that, the usual authenticity, transparency and honesty are very important. As indeed they are in real life but the internet is a different media from real life and requires different rules. Capiche?

Anyway now that I've got that out the way I think you should all know that Gavin has made a really smart move and started a social media jobs website which is going to keep him comfy during his retirment years because he just got on with it. The widget isn't working for me on this post but you can go check it out over here.


  1. Hey Charles ... must agree with you on the "politeness" angle. After all, snarkiness is momentary, google indexing is forever ;)

    And thanks for the link to the jobs board. Exciting to see how it goes ... but as to comfy in my retirement -- we'll see.

  2. That's the point made better than me Gavin. It's uber public so put on a good show. I think the social media thing could be huge if you get it to go wider than Australia and I tried to use the widget but alas the code didn't work on the blog post!

  3. I'd have to say that I'm a much nicer person on my blog than in "real life", and that's because I have time to reflect rather than react.

    I'm a big fan of the gut reaction, of shoutyness, of passion and telling it like you see it- for me volume and compassion aren't mutually exclusive....

    I do find it a good discipline to try to be inclusive and educate rather than punch people in the face for 'not getting it'- it's a work in progress though...