This is the world we now live in. I have "friends" that I haven't talked to live in years but we have emailed each other religiously. People that I was happy to leave behind have tracked me down via Facebook or Linked in. And just when I believe I'm "plugged in" enough, someone sends me an invite to some new thing. Seriously now, I have Twitter, Google, Yahoo, digg, Facebook, Blackberry Messenger, AIM and LinkedIn. Today I got an email about something called FriendFeed. I currently have nine (yes 9) email addresses, 2 websites, 3 phone numbers, one physical address and a P.O. Box. Do I really need to be any more accessible than this? I think not.
It does occur to me (regularly) with all of this social media out there that people have seriously (egregiously) relaxed their standards of etiquette when it comes to "new" communication. Being a helpful sort, I've compiled a few tips to steer folks back onto the right path. And yes, all of these examples are real:
- Who you callin' a B*tch?: What's up with the language, people? I'm posted up in Twitterland (via Tweetdeck) the other day when someone apparently got a little ticked off at a follower. The torrent of language that spewed forth was impressive only in its creative viciousness. Just because we can't hear you say it, doesn't mean we are not offended. Whew! Don't type angry!
- TMI! (Too Much Information): Why are you all flagrant with the pictures and descriptions of you and your latest boo's weekend away? "We had a nice time" with a picture of you two by the shore is perfect. You and he dry humpin' on the hotel mattress… not hot.
- More TMI: I know some of ya'll can't get through a day without constant validation that you are important. This means sharing every waking second of your day with folks you really don't know. ETIQUETTE FAIL: Do not tweet anything about your digestive functions… ever. And ladies, we know you are following the ballers thinkin' to catch one but broadcasting your XXX-rated promises of what you will do if he gives you a try? That's skanky.
- Speaking of Ballers: Ballers, don't get mad that folks are following to see how you act before drafting you for their fantasy football league. It took me two days of following Reggie Bush to see that he is spending more time watching TV, sleeping and making cyberdates than he is working out and hitting the playbook. Ocho Cinco was eating beignets less than four hours before kickoff a week ago. I know this because ya'll steady tweetin'. I cannot draft you if you don't show dedication to your craft, son!
- Stop begging: Begging, bribing (and threatening) people to follow you on Twitter, accept your Facebook invite or return your text message is just a little bit pathetic. Wouldn't you rather have 6 loyal friends/followers/connections than 6,000 folks you don't know or care about? No? Okay, that's just me. Regardless of what you're being told, it's not a popularity contest. Quality over quantity.
- Speaking of Quality (FAIL): What's with all the porn chicks on Twitter? At least three times a week, I have to make sure some chick with an "exclusive exotic" website isn't following me and spamming all my followers. I inadvertently clicked on a "Check this Out!" link the other day and all manner of surgically enhanced cleavage was up in my face. Me no like.
- Get some 007 about yourself: Fellas, your girl can read. And yes, she is checking your Facebook page to see if you've changed your status from "in a relationship" to "it's complicated" after your last fight. She knows who you sent cyber-drinks and cyber-flowers to. She sees you cyber-flirting with HotGirl06. If you are receiving instant messages and text messages after midnight, this is no bueno. No one needs a burning bush to read those signs. If you gotta creep, remember how easy it is to get busted in this day and age. Embedded video (Rated R for language, not work appropriate) below satires folks getting busted because of their Facebook pages…
- Speaking of CyberFlirting: Watch yourself out there. Some of the things that you say and do "just being friendly" may be interpreted differently by the person who reads them. I had an email earlier this week from a girl who was "heartbroken" that her cyber-fling was cyber-dating someone else… publicly. I had to remind her not to confuse the Internet with real life. They can complement and reflect each other but only one is real. If you've never laid eyes on the person, that's not your boo.
- That's just rude: Let me see if I understand… you just updated your Facebook and sent twenty tweets but you're not answering your cell? Okay, now you are texting back but still not calling? Someone left you a message two days ago and you respond on Facebook by saying, "Hey what's up, missed your call." This is the number one complaint I hear about the media outlets… people who will tweet, post and text but not talk. What's that about? Tacky, people. Verbal communication still trumps cyber contact. Respond in kind, media to media. That includes the one dude who dumped his girlfriend of 3 years via Facebook also. Cyber equivalent of post-it note to front door. Not classy.
- GRAMMATICAL FAIL: When you are tweeting and texting, you can say things like CALL U BACK N 2 SEC. But you cannot type like that in your professional correspondence or even your personal email if you want to be taken seriously. U R 2 HOTT 2 BE TRU is not a compliment to anyone over the age of 16. Please use your words.
- Inappropriate YouTubing/UStreaming: I touched on this earlier with my Why Nekkid rant; let me take it one step further. We don't need to share every moment. You and Pookie and dem ridin' up to the 7-11 for a Slurpee – no one cares. Stop broadcasting your life… it's not that interesting. If it was, they would've optioned it for a reality show by now. (and even then...)
- No Stalking: If someone hasn't returned your text, email, voicemail… there's probably a reason why. Do not cyberstalk folks by tweeting every hour, SCREAMING (why the ALL CAPS, why?) at them on their various pages and blasting them on your blog. Do not lie in wait on AOL (Yahoo/Google) Messenger for them to login so you can vent. Just move on, people. Just move on.
So in conclusion, let me say: Behavior that is unacceptable in a "real" social context is still not a good idea in cyberspace. I would also advise against thinking you know someone just because you've exchanged tweets for two months straight. For obvious reasons, people tend to get very brave when you are not looking them in the face. They adopt traits and characteristics that may or may not carry over to reality. Not me of course, I'm too busy ironing out the one persona I've got. Only got time enough each day to be Michele. J
Can you think of any social media faux pas that I missed?