3 Tips: How To Keep Social Networking From Getting Weird

We’ve all done it. You ask someone to a social gathering and they don’t respond, yet you SEE them all a flutter on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Eventually they write apologies, but deep down you are thinking “yeah right.” With the dozens of channels for communication it is easy to feel rejection. How do you not take it personally? Perhaps that’s a much deeper philosophical question.

Overloaded, dude!

Social media can be used for stalking purposes and there are numerous documented cases where it has been. Where is the line drawn? How do we know that we are not crossing a line with our friends? Recently a friend of mine was dating a guy they thought was quite dreamy. After their last date she was un-friended! Ouch. One way to draw the line is un-friending on Facebook or un-following on Twitter.

Here are a few suggestions to avoid the drama:

  1. 1. Don’t take anything personally. If people don’t respond immediately take into consideration that it might not be about you. A concept that is humbling, but entirely possible.
  2. 2. If someone takes a picture of you on a phone ask what his or her intention is with that photo. “Will this be going on twitter or facebook?” If people are your friends, which hopefully they are if you are posing for them, they will be honest. This goes in reverse too, try not to post and tag pictures or geo-location based information about another person without their permission. This goes quadruple for children. While your friend’s baby is super cute, it’s their baby and hence their choice to post a pic or not. Remember you might be stealing someone’s thunder…
  3. 3. Try not to post anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see. Would Granny want to see you doing tequila shots with sketchy looking characters? Probably not. Make Grandma proud. Regardless of privacy controls, assume anyone could see anything you do.

I think social media can be misleading. We feel as though we are connecting socially to others yet we are physically alone. Every day on public transit I see people glued to their phones, typically with texting or some form of social media. Often I see people at restaurants with their phones on the table during a meal. Unless you are an ER Doctor, this level of communication is probably unnecessary. We are pod people! Doesn’t this make us less social in the end? In the future, let’s say 2021, will Kindergartners be pinging each other on twitter for play dates? Will we raise a generation of tweeting obsessed twits? Not that I can talk…. I can admit that my patience thins when I send a friend request to someone and they take several days to accept. Just because access to communication is easier doesn’t mean we are entitled to said access. Whatever happened to playing it cool? I think the best way to avoid awkward social networking is to have some ground rules.

There are plenty of people who do not care about these things – a la the recent Charlie Sheen media hullabaloo. Amongst good friends none of what I have written here may matter. My point is that it never hurts to ask!

<end rant>

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