Social media: human rules still apply


Computer image courtesy of badlong, Morguefile.

What IS it about social media that causes behavioral amnesia in people?

It’s the ease of contacting somebody with just a click or two, I suppose. I see this on LinkedIn all the time. Someone sends me a connection request on LinkedIn, with that “I’d like you to join my professional network” message. There’s no attempt to personalize it, no explanation of why you want to connect with me.

Uh….precious….you DO realize you just tried to connect with a TOTAL STRANGER, right? Right? I’ve never communicated with you at all on any social media platform, we’re never likely to meet in person, and your profile says we have nothing whatsoever in common. (I’m protective of my LinkedIn network, you see; they are good, hardworking people.)


It’s the same with getting requests to buy something via LinkedIn. One person thought I’d be interested in something she was selling merely because we belonged to the same discussion group and another generous young man tried to sell me and my team a service that he thought would be beneficial.

Uh….precious….you did actually LOOK at my LinkedIn profile, right? If you had bothered, you would see that I don’t HAVE a team. I had given his boss my card at a networking event, true, but my LinkedIn profile is on the card. It was a simple matter to type it in and look me up on LinkedIn.


It’s the same with Twitter. Now with Twitter, it’s more acceptable to contact people you may not know, to follow people and for them to follow you. I look at someone’s tweets to get a better sense of who they are and if I like their wittiness or wisdom, I’ll follow. Often, the follow will lead to an actual conversation in a tweetchat and getting to know someone better.

For me, it’s even led to some work. I’m okay with that. (Especially after I check them out exhaustively through other people I know personally or sites before talking with them.)

There are also automated direct messages on Twitter. With some profiles, as soon as I follow, I receive an automated DM asking me to do that person a favor, whether it’s going to a Facebook page or buying their book.

Uh….precious….it’s a bit early to be asking favors of someone you just e-met. Dial it down, will ya?


I received a Facebook direct message, saying “Hey, it’s been forever, how are you?” from another stranger. I’m thinking scam artist. I checked out the profile and it’s no one I remember. Nothing on the profile indicates that I know that person from anywhere.

Bye-bye, precious. Connection request: DENIED.

It’s Direct Marketing 101: These days, you personalize to get better results and it’s better if you actually communicate back and forth with people for a while before you ask something of them. Asking someone you just e-met for favors or money is bringing on the hard sell WAY too soon. It’s equally wise to do your research before doing e-business with someone.

Social media is a powerful way to make social connections with other humans all over the planet and to learn, laugh, and teach one another. That’s the marvel of it.

But the normal rules of human behavior still apply. *shakes head ruefully* When will they learn?

As Effie Trinket of The Hunger Games would sniff: “Manners!”



Filed under Social Media

6 responses to “Social media: human rules still apply

  1. I don’t have any of the accounts you spoke of, except for Twitter, but you totally make sense there. People are so relaxed with social media, aren’t they. You would never do these things in face to face meets.

  2. I always wonder if those marketing fails ever actually work. I mean, why else would they try them? Still, it’s such a major turn-off for the rest of us that appreciate manners that it can’t be worth it!


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