This time, I am asking for your advice on a very serious issue. What is acceptable social media etiquette these days? We face social media dilemmas everyday, or at least I do. Is there a rule-book on what is acceptable or not?
Social media is getting increasingly complex. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and so on actively vying for our attention, it is increasingly difficult to know what is socially acceptable or not. Let us take Instagram as an example. Apparently, it’s okay for someone you just added to immediately like all your pictures, including that picture of a random stone you took 34 weeks ago, during your failed attempt at nature photography. However if that same person doesn’t immediately get high on the steroid of your Instagram approval and like your old pictures within the acceptable time-frame of about an hour or two (or is it a day?), and then makes the unforgivable mistake of coming back to your page two weeks later to like your pictures, the person qualifies to be labelled a stalker or a potential love interest, depending on how attractive they are. This thing is so complex, even my tenses are getting all skewed.
The things I have seen on social media, I can’t even begin to explain. The other day, someone uploaded a picture of herself on Facebook and another person had the audacity to post something like this “Wow! is this you (insert name) I cannot believe this. You look so much better than when we were at university. Please keep this new look. Thanks”. I kid you not! I have gone back to that comment a few times, to actually check that I wasn’t hallucinating when I saw it. Isn’t that comment a not so tacit way of saying the woman in question looked like a hot mess throughout university? Well, thanks a lot for finally telling her after she improved her looks, you are far too kind. For the sake of brevity, I will not even begin to talk about the types of political arguments I run into on Facebook. Also, is it right for someone to publicly criticize your faith, based on something you shared on your wall? Your own wall, not theirs. Emphasis again, YOUR wall. Please help me navigate this complexity oh.
I like twitter, but I can’t seem to catch up. Just when I finally get the memo that the world is discussing topic A, in the blink of an eye, I discover that what I met was the end of topic A, and the world has moved on to the equally earth shattering topic B. Also, is it common knowledge that people on twitter are more intelligent than people on Facebook or is it just my imagination? One thing I know is that the level of wit on twitter is ridiculously high. Will people find my tweets witty enough? Are there somethings I can’t make fun of on twitter?
In order to put everything in context, and because I know you like gist (lol), let me share a personal experience. If you are the one involved…side eyes to you! As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed one boring day, I saw a witty comment on a picture I liked. As someone who appreciates really unobvious humor, I quickly clicked on the profile of the person, and what did I see? As the profile description on this guy’s Instagram feed, he says something like “Ladies if I like your picture, note that this is not a marriage proposal.” I’m not sure which side of the bed I woke up on that day, but I apparently felt like a crusader for all things right, and in this mood, I promptly sent the guy in question a Direct Message (DM). In “Instalingo,” I slid into his DM and wrote a few hundred words about how I felt his description could not possibly be doing him any justice as a person, based on the level of intelligence I had seen displayed in the comment he made earlier, and how most ladies and generally, people, who see his description will be put off by it. I also ended with a caveat informing him that I was not in any way propositioning his very self by “sliding into his DM.”
I promise that my message to him was non-confrontational and laced with humor in order to deliver my disapproval. When this guy replied me, he was also very polite, noted that my point was valid, explained his horrible experiences on Instagram and politely reiterated that it was HIS description, on HIS page, and he would change it only if he felt like. Essentially he politely told me to mind my own business!
When my crusader ginger died, I actually had to ask myself “Mariam, but really, what was your business with his description?” I reported myself to a good friend of mine who had a good laugh at me and indirectly told me that I had committed a social media faux pas by sliding into his DM (if you notice, I can’t stop saying that, it sounds so sleek!lol) and writing up an essay. I admit that I was wrong to call someone out for what they had in their description, but on the other hand if you put something out there for the world to see, surely you should have the fortitude to receive some criticism? Right? I don’t know. You tell me.
My typical stance will be to tell you to focus on building your professional presence on Linkedin instead of focusing on just social media, or urge you to read the Economist all the time, instead of random blogs, but that would mean I am discounting the role social media plays in a typical millennial’s life, and trust me, I’m not about that life (still notice the sneaky way I tell you to focus on Linkedin and other serious stuff,lol)
Please help out by sharing your opinions or personal experiences in relation to social media etiquette, before some of us receive social media red cards!