Monday, September 17, 2012

Social Media Monday—The Connection Between Social Media and Polite Society

The connections between social media
and polite society

Social media is a return to a simpler age.

I can see the skepticism on your faces from here, but bear with me. I think you’ll see the connection.

First, I’d like to invite you to remind yourselves of the standards I, and a lot of you, were taught growing up. We were raised by certain ideas about how to treat others. My mother and grandmother had a name for it—polite society. Here are some of the basics, in case you’ve forgotten: 
  • If someone says something nice about you, thank them.
  • When someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.
  • Always put others before yourself.
  • If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

It was a Do unto others as you would have them do unto you world.

Navigate social media from what's familiar,
not what's foreign
These rules guided my behavior in almost all circumstances. And they made the world I lived in pretty easy to navigate. We all operated from a common basis, and everyone knew what was expected from everyone else.

These same basic rules are once again enjoying a resurgence—on the Internet. Stay with me and consider our interaction on social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter.
  • If someone mentions you (which is a nice thing in this new, platform-building paradigm) you thank them.
  • When others do something nice for you online, like telling people you have a great blog post, you tell your friends about their blogs.
  • To keep from becoming a self-centered sounding boor, promote others online more than yourself. I know it’s counterintuitive, but it works every time. Those who promote others are always more popular and have more friends than those who are self-serving and self-promoting.
  • And most important of all, when almost everything ever said online can still be found somewhere online—NEVER share an update that puts someone else down. 

A golden-rule world
It’s once again a golden-rule governed world.

When I realized the relationship between how I was raised and this new frontier, I also saw that I have a lot of experience I can share with the younger, sometimes more digitally-familiar generation. And this gave me the confidence to embrace this new culture. Because let’s face it, there truly is nothing new under the sun.

So here's my challenge to you. We tend to focus on the difficulties of connecting to others through this new digital paradigm. Instead, what similarities have you found between connecting digitally and connecting physically with other people.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Note: This was taken from a post I wrote as a guest blogger for Linda Rondeau's Blog,


  1. Both physically and digitally there are barriers that need to be broken to be let in. I find those barriers more difficult digitally because we are a little more cautious when we don't know the person in "real life." Emotions are hard to "hear" on-line also.

    This post fits in perfect with our pastor's message this weekend. Teaching from James, he spoke on taming the tongue -- not just our physical tongues but our cyber tongues also.

  2. I've also heard it said to stop and read what you have written. Would you say this face to face? If not, don't send it. Good reminders, Edie. Thanks.

  3. Thanks, Edie! This post takes some of the "scary" out of the digital world for me. I was raised with the same values you quoted. Thanks for blessing me today!

  4. Thank you for your post. I find most people on line to be very friendly and very helpful. I have only been doing this for a year now and I'm amazed when some very important authors say something nice about my blog or a post. I love that. God bless you.

    Glenda Parker

  5. You are so right, Edie! I try to promote the authors I have interviewed on my blogs for their sake, not mine. I'm getting from a couple to several new twitter followers every day!

  6. AMEN. Thanks for saying what needs to be said :)

  7. Edie, You've taken a common asumption about social media- that it's less personal and therefore promotes rudeness- and smacked it out of the room! You 're right! I have yet to find unfriendly people via my social networks! Perhaps we can hope that these online habits will spread into real world behavior! Thanks for this post!

  8. When I make references to others' websites or tweet about them, I'm not looking for appreciation or for a favor returned. I refer them because I sincerely like what they say or do.
    However, it does bring a smile when someone does thank me for a compliment or a referral. When I read comments that something I wrote encouraged someone, that blesses my heart. A tweet or referral to my website encourages me to keep going…my work means something to somebody (besides myself!)
    Therefore, I want to do the same thing for others. Connecting and encouraging others is what it’s all about for me.
    A big thanks to you, Edie, for all you have done for me.


  9. Hi – It’s good to read such interesting stuff on the Internet as I have been able to discover here. I agree with much of what is written here and I’ll be coming back to this website again. Thanks again for posting such great reading material!!