I have always believed that good manners allow you to go anywhere. Have you ever been to a party where one person has to dominate the conversation and no matter what the prior subject the new subject of the conversation is them? I always thought they needed some manners. It’s one thing to add to the overall conversation with salient points or even an opposing point of view and quite another to turn the conversation into an ego fest of self promotion.
Good manners dictate that just about the rudest thing one can do is to point out someone else’s rudeness in public so I won’t be wagging my finger in anyone’s virtual face here, however, there are some in my small part of the design community who turn their comments on blogs and Facebook fan pages into forums for their own overt self promotion. Here’s a great link to 5 simple rules for blogging from Blogging Basics 101 – pay particular attention to rule No. 4.
Social media, including blogging, offers everyone a voice in the larger conversation–and it is a two way conversation. When I first started learning about how to create a social media presence everyone I communicated with offered these basic rules:
- Be authentic
- Share information freely and be a giving part of the community
- Participate in online conversations via comments and ask questions
- Offer your expertise in a way that will enhance the conversation
- If you are promoting a product or yourself – do so within the context of everything else above – promotion via social media is more organic and viral rather than traditional in your face advertising and marketing
For the past year, I have worked very hard to follow those rules and I have had wonderful experiences and have gained opportunities that I might not have been given elsewhere. For my own part, I try to answer blog comments here and to participate elsewhere adding to to and enriching the conversations in ways that stay on or add to a topic. One of the main components of a successful blog or Facebook fan page or even Twitter stream are the readers/fans and their comments. But…
Apparently there are those, who looking from the outside in believe that they can ride along without putting the work in…they hijack conversations, blog comments, and Facebook posts like pirates capturing a ship. They use others’ carefully developed and considered ideas as platforms to overtly gain a larger presence for themselves. How sad that they feel that their own on topic contributions have so little value that they have to scream their accomplishments from someone else’s crow’s nest.
With that said, there will be some here who will say I am making much ado about nothing or that what I am objecting to is actually part of the social media process. What I say is yes, your comments and opinions are welcome–keep them coming! Add your voice whereever and whenever you please…just realize that you are indeed promoting yourself subtly every time you comment unless you are commenting anonymously. It just isn’t cool when someone has the poor manners to believe that it is okay to hijack comments and ideas for their own self promotion using someone else’s platform–that’s just rude.