In the world of social media, (I’ll call it Cyberia), I’ve discovered that on most social media networking sites, there is a way of interacting, almost like a code of conduct, much like the rules in the schoolyard.
In Robert Fulghum’s book titled “All I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten,” he lists many very important rules for getting through life. I’ve borrowed a few important ones when explaining the online world to my clients. While all of Fulghum’s rules are extremely valuable life lessons, here are the ones that stick out in my mind:
1. Share everything: Ok. Not necessarily everything but when online, it is usually common courtesy among fellow joiners and followers to “like” each other’s pages or to “tweet” each other’s names. It’s also nice to reciprocate when creating links. We’re all online hoping to get a little bit of the pie and it’s only fair to help those who help you. As well, sharing valuable tools and techniques is also a nice way to go.
2. Don’t take things that aren’t yours: With everything that is available online, it’s easy to just “borrow” a few words or ideas here and there. Not only is this stealing, it’s mean and it can get you blacklisted on many of the social networking sites that you need to help your business and your clients’ business. Remember kindergarten, if you don’t play nice, no one will want to play with you. This also goes with two other of Mr. Fulghum’s rules: Play fair and say sorry when you’ve hurt someone. Both good rules to live and network by.
3. Live a Balanced life: Again, this is a good rule of thumb in Cyberia. Social media as a business strategy is a long process. You can’t just whip up a website, flip it online and have it take off in the first month. Cultivating an online presence takes patience and determination. You cannot just tweet once a week or so and expect people to know who you are or what you offer. You need to provide your clients with an ongoing conversation to create trust and loyalty. That said, social media is not everything. You do need to look up from the computer once and a while and really see what is going on around you.
4. When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together. We all need a little help, now and again. Don’t be afraid to ask for it. Most people in Cyberia are friendly, will readily offer advice and directions when asked nicely and maybe even a (((hug))).
5. Remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned was “Look:” This could not be more true. The social media medium is an ever-changing ebb and flow of social networking, blogging, geo-social sites and more. It moves fast and if you don’t watch it, it will change and pass you by leaving both you and your clients gasping in its wake. What worked for your clients yesterday, whether it be a Facebook Fan page or a loyal following on Twitter, may not work tomorrow. As social media managers, we need to be on top of it.
And, lastly, just cause it’s a really good rule, I’ll throw it in:
p.s. A big thank you to Robert Flughum’s very wise and ever-relevant words in his book of essays entitled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten” Ballentine Books, 2003