A thought occurred to me just now. I’m going to make a disclaimer first, though, as I want it to be clear what I’m getting at.
*I love technology, and I love social media, and I love the ease of texting/messaging/tweeting/posting. Face-to-face can be very scary for some, and I believe that these new methods of interacting loosens the binds on those people. I have a telephone phobia, so I know how this can be.*
Have you seen the videos or commercials portraying how it would be to ‘act’ in real life as we do on social media? For instance, two women meeting for breakfast, and one cannot help but ‘show’ her friend what she is eating, and explain each plated item. Friend then says, ‘like’, and first woman hashtag-speaks a random comment that she thought of while showing friend her food.
There is an etiquette on social media, and it works just fine WHILE ON THERE, but let’s face it, it is WEIRD when taken offline. I love random hashtags (and Justin and Jimmy definitely made it hilarious and even enticed people to do it more), and random musings aloud, etc…but there are some things that people do on social media that are just a complete breach of ANY etiquette, period.
The biggest one, I think, is completely ignoring messages from a person. I’m not talking a random person. I’m not even talking a person you don’t really like, and don’t particularly want to talk to. In real life, in person, we would just avoid any conversation with them whatsoever.
What I’m talking about (and seriously, I wish I could create a video of this to illustrate how ridiculous it is) is when a person contacts YOU first, asking for something, an answer or information, whatever. You provide what they requested, and wait patiently for a response from them as to what they thought, if they need more information, if they have more questions, etc. They don’t respond. One day turns into two, you follow up with them…they ignore you. Since Facebook is so helpful and shows you if someone SAW your message, you know they are actually ignoring you. You send one more message, stating that you hope they found what they needed, and to have a great day. They still never respond. (this doesn’t only apply to business, by the way, it is in general)
Let’s make this in person. A friend comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, can I get info on xyz?’ and you say sure, here, and you give them basic info on what they are asking about, basic but enough to know if they need more information. Then you both just stand there. The friend looks over what you gave them, and says nothing. You ask if they got the info they needed…they just stare at you and say nothing. After a few minutes of extreme awkwardness, you smile, say have a great day, and walk away.
In what alternate universe is this behavior acceptable? Would you act that way in person? If I ask someone for information–no matter what the topic is–and their information either helped me, or made me decide it wasn’t the thing for me, I WOULD STILL LET THAT PERSON KNOW.
‘Thanks, I appreciate the info, however it just didn’t turn out to be something I’m interested in.’
That is not a difficult sentence. I would say it in person, or online, equally. Saying this would give the other person a chance to see if it is just that you need more answers, or if they just aren’t interested. Let’s make this a simple request: ‘Hey, Jane, can I get that recipe for the Hot Chocolate cupcakes you talked about at the party last week? They sounded good.’ Jane: ‘Sure, here it is! Let me know how they turn out!’ You: nothing. Jane: ‘Hey, how did those cupcakes turn out?’ You: nothing. Jane: ‘Bueller? Bueller?………..ok, later.’ Jane is not likely to jump at the chance to help you in the future.
Please note that my issue with this is that someone ASKED for something, and I gave them exactly what they asked for. I did not THROW something at a person, hoping they wanted the info. I KNOW they wanted it. That is the difference, here. Also, this isn’t about ONE person or instance, this happens more often than anyone should experience it.
As we are all aware, I get distracted and go off on tangents, so I’m going to wrap this up now. Let’s love technology. Let’s love social media. But don’t stop acting as you normally would in person. When you are in an online messaging/tweeting situation, it is considered just as rude to not respond to someone as it would be if that person were standing in front of you. Just a hint.