365+ days of getting social and here’s what I know: What works in real life, works in social media.
Yes, we do things in new ways, but courtesy, polite conversation and taking the time to make guests feel included – although as old as civilization itself – are still important. Essential, even.
Below are my* Jules Rules for behaving socially on social networks. Hopefully, these all seem completely obvious because you are the type of person that does all this making nice instinctively – even online.
The Ten Commandments of How to Get Along With People*
- Keep skid chains on your tongue. Always say less than you think. Cultivate a low, persuasive voice. How you say it often counts more than what you say.
- Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully, no matter what the cost.
- Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody. Praise good work, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, offer it gently, never harshly.
- Be interested in others – their pursuits, their work, their homes and families. Make merry with those who rejoice, and weep with those who mourn. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him or her as a person of importance.
- Don’t burden or depress those around you by dwelling on your minor aches and pains and small disappointments. Remember, everyone is carrying some kind of burden, often heavier than your own.
- Keep an open mind. Discuss, but don’t argue. It is the mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.
- Let your virtues, if you have any, speak for themselves. Refuse to talk of other’s vices. Discourage gossip. It is a waste of valuable time, and can be extremely destructive.
- Be careful of another’s feelings. Wit and humor at another person’s expense may do more damage than you will ever know.
- Pay no attention to disparaging remarks. Remember, the person who carried the message may not be the most accurate reporter in the world, and things become twisted in the retelling. Live so that nobody will believe them.
- Don’t be too eager to get the credit due you. Do your best, and be patient. Forget about yourself, and let others “remember”. Success is much sweeter that way.
Now, what may surprise you, is that this list was written by the iconic Ann Landers, from the famed newspaper column of years ago. Further surprise: this list came to me as a mailed photo copy sent by my grandmother who was in her 90s at the time. Grandma Pauline was quite a lady and took educating grandchildren on proper social graces very seriously.
I found this while sorting through old papers and it hit me: What Grandma Pauline taught her rural students in the 40s about manners and her grandchildren in the 70s is as true today as it was then.
My grandmother, Ruth Crowley and Eppie Lederer would be appalled by some of the things that happen online, but would agree with my assessment: The task before us is not to get more from social media but to figure out how to give more using social media.
“The true measure of a [person] is how he treats someone [online] who can do him absolutely no good.” ~ Ann Landers