Social Media Manners: Are You Talking To Me?!

Nancy MyrlandAll Posts, Social Media 1 Comment

Social Media Manners and EtiquetteHAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AT AN EVENT?

Have you ever been at an event, talking to someone who keeps looking over your shoulder while you’re talking, wondering who’s coming in the room next, who they must see, who might be more important than you?

Me, too.

How does that makes you feel?

  • That you’re less important?
  • As if that person really doesn’t care what you’re talking about?
  • Silly, because you know you’re talking to thin air?
  • That you could start reciting Mary Had A Little Lamb, and s/he wouldn’t even know it?
  • As if that person is an opportunist, only caring about the VIPs?
  • That you have no desire to mingle with that person ever again?
  • That it’s a shame that human beings can be so blatantly rude?


Part of the beauty of Social Networking is the ability to “talk” to just about anyone from anywhere in the world. I remember the feeling of exhilaration I had when I first discovered Twitter in 2008, and the unbelievable connection I suddenly had to the rest of the world. I had a seemingly infinite number of people…

  • To connect to
  • To learn from
  • To get to know
  • To share with
  • …and sometimes to do business with

Perhaps it is the extrovert in me that was drawn to Social Media, and the ability to connect on a massive scale. Yes, I do gain energy from the interaction. I guess that makes me an extrovert. Perhaps it is that sliver of introvert in me that appreciates being able to do this from the silence of a laptop in my nice, quiet office.  It’s hard to believe, I know, but I do have those moments every now and then.


Remember that person in the first paragraph that ignored you at the event you were both attending, looking over your shoulder for a really important person to talk to?

Guess what, they’re in Social Media, too.

I don’t know that people always know they are doing it…perhaps some do, but many don’t. It’s just a way of life, combined with a gross misunderstanding that being on the radar of all the “important people,” whatever that means, is their key to success.


Try these on for size, and tell me if any of them have ever happened to you.

  • You share others’ content, and they have never acknowledged your kindness.
  • You comment on someone’s blog, and they don’t reply to you.
  • You write good content related to their area of expertise, and they don’t reciprocate and share or even acknowledge your material.
  • You live-Tweet, or even blog, someone’s presentation, giving them lots of exposure, and they never stop to say thanks.
  • You are one of several interacting with someone in a conversation, and they only reply to the heavy hitters.
  • You mention someone’s blog post in your blog post, and kindly link to it, giving them exposure, and they don’t say thanks.

Yes, I could go on and on, but the stories I’ve heard from many of you, and witnessed while being a constant observer of people, all resemble the six examples I just shared. I know, people are busy and they can’t acknowledge, thank or share content from all their followers via Social Media.


When someone has thousands of connections, friends or followers, it is nearly impossible to keep up with appreciation and gestures of kindness to all who attempt to connect with you. That’s not what I’m talking about.

What I’m talking about is…

  • Running to the important people that enter the digital room
  • To only share their material because you want to be on their radar
  • To only talk to them because your perception is that stature equates to power, and it will somehow rub off on you
  • To forget that there are many out there who have shared your content, and are the people who will probably advance the discussion further
  • Forgetting what I mentioned above, that these tools are amazing for connecting, learning, knowing and sharing

I’m not saying that we should all be out here doing what we’re doing because we want or need to be thanked. That’s not typically a good reason to do anything. I’m also not here to tell anyone there is only one way to use Social Media. That would be silliness because we all find our comfort zones and ways of connecting.

But let’s not attempt to be so big in this world that it ever becomes acceptable to ignore the majority of people running around out there doing good and kind things by connecting with us, showing they care about our work, and willing to go out of their way to interact with us. They’re busy, too, you know. Their time, whether in-person or online, is very important to them.


Let’s never forget our business manners, okay?

Image from Flickr user CarbonNYC under a Creative Commons license.

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