Friday, December 11, 2009

Mind your manners, Miss Twitterer.

Don’t eat with your elbows on the table.

Use your napkin!

What do you say to Mrs. Johnson for the lovely gift, Joey? Joey!

Hey, no cutting in line!

Most kids are beat over the head with reminders about their manners on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Yet, with age does not always come courtesy. Case in point, the car that refused to get in the long line waiting to turn right and chose, instead, to scoot up the left side and demand to be let in at the front of the line.

Hey! No cutting in line!

Most business professionals maintain a modicum of manners in their normal business dealings. Receptionists ask you to “hold please” or politely request “may I take a message?” Salespeople know to show up on time for business appointments. Bosses can usually expect employees not to whisper or pass notes in meetings… usually.

Yes, Miss Manners is still a powerful force in the business world except, it seems, in the world of social media. Business professionals who wouldn’t dream of sharing their opinions about Obama, Roe v. Wade or the war in Afghanistan over lunch with a client have no qualms about blogging or Twittering those same opinions to the world. Social Media can be a powerful way to build your business, but not if potential customers are turned off at their first experience with you.

Minding your manners when interacting in the social media world is not much different than in the real world, as Rohit Bhargava points out in his article “10 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Kharma.” Maximizing your social media impact just requires remembering a few things mom taught you.

Always tell the truth.

Make sure to say “thank you.”

Don’t talk behind people’s backs.

And for heaven’s sake, no blogging at the dinner table! Were you raised in a barn?