I began thinking about social grace.
I wrote a piece about social media and a piece about writing. Here is where the two meld. It's no secret that social media has opened the flood gates of expression. It can be informative and fun. It can also be vituperative and mean. It can be weird and frightening. It has connected us with breakneck speed and what goes out there, goes out there FOREVER! It appears however that the hidden rules, the social graces, the just plain manners have not seeped their way into the collective mindset.
Well here it is for all to see, (or at least those who follow my blog, anyway) some suggestions for social grace:
- I follow a number of blogs and in many of them there are statements indicating how happy comments make the authors feel. I can relate. These comments allow the author to know someone has read their words and is thinking about their ideas. For better or worse. Comments may take time. Leaving a comment may require a log in. Sometimes the comment gets lost in cyberspace. All valid reasons for not leaving a comment, but for me, I want authors to know that the time they spent crafting a post was well worth it. Here is a tip I have learned, when leaving a comment, copy it before you hit post just in case it "doesn't take." I do this for all my comments and Teacher Pay Teacher feedback.
- This relates to email and is something I have experienced largely at work. It appears to me, and this again is just how I view the situation, that when an email is received common courtesy dictates a response. It doesn't have to be a tome, just a short note back, "Thanks for thinking of me," "Great idea," etc. When I don't hear back from the recipient of an email I often wonder what they thought or whether they even received it! So, may I suggest that when an an email is received you write back? I think it's just good manners.
- It has probably happened to every blogger courageously putting themselves out there...negative comments. It is so tempting to launch a full on rebuttal, but I have found that only leaves me even more frustrated. A skill I have only recently developed is to respond without defense (do I need to be right?) and simply say, "Thank you for the feedback." That is it. Nothing else. I recommend this tactic highly as it can save you from all manner of angst. It can also save you from a word war. Trust me ;)
- I do love receiving comments. I also believe I should reply to each and every comment someone has taken the time to leave. Yes, it means a little more effort, but believe me when I say it doesn't take that much time. I imagine if I had a comment from each reader it might become a daunting task, but in reality, that is just not going to happen. For the headline bloggers this could be more challenging, however a single line acknowledging the comments that I love to receive is worth for me as the author.
- Sometimes, as a reader you might notice a typo or grammatical error. You might not like the vocabulary the author uses or think the word is used incorrectly. Again, this is simply my opinion, everyone is entitled to their own course of action, but is it necessary to CORRECT others? Before correcting an author's grammar or critiquing word choice consider asking the question, "Is there value in this?" Consider asking yourself, "What is my motivation for doing this?" You may be surprised by the answer.
- Finally, the cover of anonymity has afforded many people a sense of security used to lash out at authors with whom they disagree. The current state of the Internet world allows people to spew negativity with alacrity! Let's try to exercise decorum when responding to topics of disagreement. There is no rule suggesting we have to agree, however there is an unwritten rule that suggests we do so with civility and the Internet world should be no exception.
I believe the Internet has made the world a better place. I also believe that the same tenets that we adhere to in face to face interactions should be extended to the context of social media. Manners are manners. What do you think? I would love to know!!!
P.S. Thanks Erik for the link to the photos! Isn't that pic perfect?