At the end of last year, I was a lucky GoodReads.com winner of Leonard Kim’s (a.k.a. @MrLeonardKim) book – The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media. As I teach a professional development class and write/research this topic, with regards to social media learning and performance, I thought this might be an interesting read to add to my shelf.
Our lives are more social and online. For those who say “in real life” or “IRL” – let me just tell you, social media is real life. There are less distinctions and divisions between our online and offline selves. That being said, there has been little provided to model good behaviors and polite encounters on social media platforms. Little Miss Manners ought to write a quick overview for social media; however I think that Leonard Kim got to it first with this book. There are a number of questions and situations that need to be addressed with individual use of social media, and Leonard Kim attempts to provide examples and strategies the following questions he introduces in this book:
- Should we act however we want online?
- Should we censor ourselves?
- Are we supposed to act civilized on certain platforms but casual on others?
- What happens if we encounter a bully [online]?
- How do we start a conversation with a potential business partner, client or future employer?
When I read these questions, I immediately thought about the number of questions I am asked about using and interacting with social media on a regular basis:
- Do I have to have a professional photo/avatar?
- Should I include my full name on my social media platform or website URL?
- Should I start a blog
- Who should monitor our office social media account(s)? And how should this be done?
- Should I have more than one profile to interact with my colleagues vs. students?
- What social media spaces should I be active on to learn or network within the field?
- Who can I go for help with my own social media development/use?
With in the influx of social media platforms and increasing amount of users within our professional online networks, there are a number of questions being added to both lists. This book was a light read, with some great points and examples for both my students and early career professionals/academics who frequent social media – or want to use it further learning and performance.
Kim’s book addresses the individual use of social media, and implications using these platforms might have in your personal and professional life. In other social media books, there is a directive for organizational content development, marketing, and/or business; however these text rarely mention how professional should interact and behave online. Kim offers examples of interactions and posts from common social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora. Although these tools might be used right now, he addresses acceptable behavior online in any forum and encouragers his readers to be nice and respectful. Other segments of this text address personal/professional goals that includes research, building a good reputation, being polite with interactions, connecting with others, and seeking out a mentor for advice. Many of these concepts can be applied to online communication and development; but really have a greater focus on professional growth and life objectives. In contrast, later chapters do detail the potential negative aspects for being active on social media, such as negative comments, how to manage online attacks, and how to deal with cyber bullying.
The bonus final chapter identifies how to effectively reach out to a new contact and how to avoid awkward interactions with digital messages. This section is dedicated to supporting those who want to gain experience with effective “cold call” social media messages to potential peers, collaborators, employers, etc. To be honest, a number of my students could use the basics for effective e-mail drafting and see the examples provided in this chapter, including these common denominators for a successful message (Kim, 2014, p. 92):
- Grammar is properly used.
- Address the respondent by name.
- Each message has a unique sense of personality, reflecting the messenger.
- A heartfelt and genuine compliment is stated at the beginning.
- Build common ground on points and based on initial research.
- Show that you respect and value the time of the message recipient.
- Provide a reason behind the message.
Overall, I appreciate how this book deals with social media and the individual use, specifically personal interactions and polite communication. For staff and faculty in higher education, Kim provides some helpful examples and useful facts throughout the book, and it is a quick read for your students.