Chances are you’ve set up a user account on at least one of these sites or maybe others besides these popular three. Learning how to navigate these social media sites can be overwhelming, but with the right approach they can be well worth the time you spend building your profile or your portfolio.
I’ve enjoyed my experiences with each of these. Twitter has become my office water cooler, a place to swap news and strike up conversation with some interesting folks while I drink my morning coffee or take a break for lunch.
I’m stimulated by the freewheeling discussions in the groups I’ve joined on LinkedIn, particularly the Commercial and Industry Arbitration and Mediation Group founded by ADR reinsurance expert Philip Loree Jr., Victoria VanBuren, Karl Bayer, Don Philbin, Robert Bear, Peter Scarpato, and Roger Moak.
Facebook, which I use for personal connections, has turned out to be a great way to stay in touch with far-flung friends and family or to get to know on a more personal level the people I know through my professional ties.
But using social media is not always a bed of roses. I’ve had a couple of experiences lately that have been total bummers. In one case, someone I’d accepted an invitation from on LinkedIn immediately began hitting me with sleazy sales pitches. They became the first person I’ve ever had to disconnect from on LinkedIn (ironically, this person has a reputation as a social media maven). In another case, I reluctantly took the unprecedented step of unfollowing on Twitter a fellow mediator due to the annoying frequency of self-serving updates they posted, the constant linking to spam sites, and their unhealthy obsession with their follower count. This kind of behavior just ruins it for the rest of us.
Fortunately, these kinds of incidents are rare. But nonetheless, drawn from my recent experiences, here are some social media suggestions to help you 1) play it safe and 2) improve the quality of life for others online.
Rudyard Kipling might have had social media in mind when he wrote, “A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle…”
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