Social Media Etiquette: Let’s Review

Cynthia Herron Social Networking Leave a Comment

authorcynthiaherron.comIn light of some new trends (and recycled old ones) we’re seeing in social media, today I thought a refresher might be in order.

Kick back.


Sip some joe.


Let’s talk turkey.

In today’s brave, new world where endless memes and selfies are the order of the day, we’re seeing unprecedented over-the-top marketing.

For instance—recently, I received an e-mail that made a poor impression.

The wording was veiled in polite courtesies, but the overall (and probably well-intentioned, but missed-the-mark) message was this:

“As you know, I’m so-and-so. I’ve sold ___ # of books and I’d like to invite you to be part of my good friend, author so-and-so’s, street team. His book is releasing on this date: xxxxx. If this is something that appeals to you, please let us know immediately so we can get the book to you for your perusal.”


Let’s see.

I’ll take the high road here, so I’m going to be vague. In fact, I’ve used “his” purely in the generic sense.

Aside from some limited social media contact with this person, I share no personal or professional connection.

So…my initial reaction to the e-mail? Baffled. Sad. Used.

And oh, my goodness—dare I say it? Frustrated. 

And then embarrassed. Embarrassed for this person, embarrassed for his brand.

Friends—when connecting with someone on a minimal basis and then contacting them only when a favor’s needed, that’s called impolite. Poor taste. A brand-killer.

A no-no.

Now, in all fairness, this wasn’t exactly a meme. This was a call-to-action on someone else’s behalf. The sender’s heart was in the right place. I think.

Sadly, however, this is today’s default mode—the If I push it/her/him/them hard/long enough, more folks will gravitate toward my message/book/me theme.

Why do I mention this publicly?

Well, because I find this approach unsettling.

Be it the new-wave, in-our-face marketing or general complacency, brands are failing to live up to what they promise.

I understand the desire to be noticed. I get it. I’m a writer.

And please, know this.

I like sharing great content.

I like dishing about favorite books, brands, and authors.

I like to encourage, uplift, and cheer.

I love the underdog.

But honestly—all the memes leave me breathless.

As writers, self-promotion (within reason) is necessary. Expected.

And done tastefully, it’s well received.

It primes the pump.

It excites us and makes us want to hear more.

However—tweeting one’s status every few minutes, dozens of times a day, will only clog Twitter feeds.

If we’ve listed Dynamic Dan because we initially liked (and valued) what he had to say, we may unlist him. Or we may disconnect.

Sharing post after post on Facebook with little or no engagement earns distrust—and hidden posts. It leaves friends and followers cold.

The message has become a meme.

It’s sidelined the original intent.

Or… maybe not.


I know.


What do we do? How do we balance work and fun?

Well, obviously, since we’re all unique individuals, our approach should reflect our personality.

And, too, if we’re sincere in our approach—considerate of others’ wants and needs—we can showcase our strengths, craft, stories, products, etc. in a positive light without sounding like a running infomercial.

Think of it this way.

Don’t picture it as a numbers game or a popularity contest. Think of social media as a fun way to connect with like-minded people—as a way to make friends, not number count.

Social media, whether we like it or not—is not going away.


We don’t have to broadcast our message 24-7 to be heard. Nor do we have to repeat the same message on every social media outlet.

That’s why writers blog.

It’s our home base. A place folks can stop by at their choosing.

It’s our job to make them want to return.

I realize blogging’s not for everyone, and a blog doesn’t make or break our success. In fact, many folks choose not to blog. That’s okay!

The truth, though?

I’m less likely to tolerate social media memes and brand overkill when I feel I’m just a number.

On the other hand, when I’ve connected elsewhere with someone—through a blog or newsletter (a subject for another day)—I’m more inclined to listen to the intended message because I’ve seen their heart. I’ve gotten to know them.

They’ve practiced great social media etiquette.

They’ve made work fun!


Here are some key things I’ve learned:


  • I don’t try to do it all. For now, I’ve chosen only those networks I enjoy and have time for. (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.) I share updates without overkill.
  • I’m consistent with blogging and I blog regularly on W/F. Sometimes, it’s necessary to take time off. When I do, I try to tell my readers.
  • I don’t make my social media networks all about me. I generally try to offer something upbeat and encouraging, and often, I’ll post additional links that I think may be of interest. In other words—takeaways. Something of value.
  • I don’t connect with people just for the sake of having them as a connection. (As corny as it may sound, I connect with folks because I like people and I like to make friends!) I want to know you better because, likely, we share common interests. You bring value to the table. I can learn from you. Maybe you can learn from me, too.
  • I think of social media as an outlet, not a “numbers” game. It’s a way to share—a fun form of communication.
  • I try to keep it real. I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. In other words: I’m a Jesus-loving gal who’s learning and growing right along with you. And as you know—I make mistakes!
  • I don’t burn bridges. Yes, there are times I may disagree with those in my social media circles. I strive to take the high road. (On occasion, it may be necessary to disengage. Rants, profanity, and dissing my Savior leave me cold. I don’t want to “burn a bridge,” but I will have to close the gate if that happens.)


These are my own personal guidelines for having fun with social media. There are no hard and fast rules. I’d love to hear what works best for you.

And because I’ve said I’ll share tactfully, truthfully, and lovingly, I pray I’ve not stepped on too many toes.

But… I do have Band-Aids. 🙂

Onward and upward, gang!



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Original Image Credit: FirmBee/Pixabay

How do you feel about social media?

What do you like/dislike?


Thanks for joining me ~

Much Love and Many Blessings,

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