10 Things Your Parents Told You That Still Apply to Social Media

Iggy Pintado

This is a guest post by my friend Iggy Pintado. Iggy is the Director of Marketing, Sustainability & Innovation at UXC Connect . He is also a professional speaker and author of the book, Connection Generation. You can find Iggy on Twitter at @IggyPintado. This blog post was inspired by a conversation between Iggy and his daughter Rachel on a recent road trip.

1. How would you like it if someone did that to you?

The old adage of “do-to-others-as-you-would-have-done-to-you” is as much a religious commandment as it is social media principle numero uno.

2. Are you going out looking like that?

Make sure your profile – posts, photos, videos, etc. – reflect who you are and how you want to be perceived online.

3. If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say it all.

Be nice to people and try to be positive. That’s all.

4. Don’t play with fire.

If you know someone or something isn’t good, don’t engage – you’ll just get burned.

5. If you go cross-eyed and the wind changes, it’ll be permanent.

Unlike this advice, whatever you DO post online, stays online. You may think it doesn’t but the truth is – it does.

6. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Keep it clean. Don’t use words your mother finds offensive. Watch the words you use – people are listening and judging.

7. Everything in moderation.

Careful with over-sharing and potential spamming. Also, watch that you don’t spend too much time online that it consumes you.

8. Think before you speak.

Watch what you say. If angry, count to ten first before responding. If really angry, sleep on it and answer after a good night’s rest.

9. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

You may want to try more than one social media platform. Don’t just blog, Facebook and Tweet. Use Linkedin for business connections.

10. Go clean your room!

Make sure your social media presences are updated. It’s worth posting regularly on your blog and updating your Facebook profile.

Which one’s your favorite? Can you think of any more? All comments welcome!

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  1. KRCraft says

    Love this. Hope it gets broadcast forward widely, as these are important lessons for behavior, safety and effect eventual job hunting for young people today. I know a few adults who could benefits from these reminders, too.

    I’d like to offer you up a reverse perspective. A lesson that my media-savvy Gen Y kiddo taught me about my behaviors with offspring in SM channels:

    You’ve come a Long Way Baby – Gen Y Teaches a Valuable Lesson on SM Boundaries http://bit.ly/dwQWxD

    We can learn from lessons they teach us, too.

  2. LeeSafar says

    Great post! I’d like to add one. My mother always told me “If you feel uncomfortable somewhere, find a way to politely leave”!

  3. LanceScoular says

    Hi Ho Danny and Iggy,

    Love the truth and simplicity.

    Should be on a large post it note on everyone’s computer screeen.

  4. Frances says

    I think this is true: “Watch the words you use – people are listening and judging.”
    I also agree with keeping it positive. It’s an interesting balance between not exposing your personal life too much and revealing ‘shades of grey.’ I don’t like to see others making themselves vulnerable.

    • says

      @Frances It is a fine line, Frances. Although sometimes I’ve found that the more personally I’ve opened up, the more understanding people are to my faults down the line. I guess it depends how (and if) we play up on that too much?

  5. infoholic says

    One rule that may be a worthy addition to the list (and possibly one I should follow a little more often when following political conversations) is:

    Never argue with a fool, they will lower you to their level and then beat you with experience.

  6. says

    This goes to show that it’s not all about knowing the technology. It’s about knowing how to affectively communicate and then applying those skills to the different platforms. Thanks @gotbrain and @bethlanger for teaching me what’s important in life. (yup, my parents are using Livefyre :)

    • says

      @jennalanger Hey Jenna :)

      I LOVE the fact both @gotbrain and @bethlanger are using @Livefyre – now THAT’s familial support, and just enforces your comment about it not all being about the technology. :)

  7. KathleenCrone says

    Thank you for this advice. It’s good to read some social media advice that keeps it simple and makes it easy to relate to. I have been observing a FB debate related to the value/effectiveness/ethics of #ruokday. I think it proves that there is scope to add another point to this list about reducing flippancy eg. tweeting about things without taking time to think about them or with a lack of genuineness (this is a little tricky to articulate). I also wonder if we should be extending point 1 “Do unto others ..” to encouraging people to refrain from tweeting messages they would not purport or put into action offline eg. Don’t talk the walk. Walk the talk. This could assist people to better filter and decide what they post online and help them to be respected (an extension of your point 2).

    • infoholic says

      @KathleenCrone: I generally agree with your suggestion but if I interpret it correctly I should only post something on a social network that I would personally do or directly support.

      Do you think it would be inappropriate for me to post something that I may not support or do something about myself (i.e. something I am neutral about) but know some of the people who follow me be interested in?

    • says

      @KathleenCrone Great points, Kathleen – I’m frequently disillusioned by certain folks online that refer someone or something, usually just for a fast buck and with no personal investment in what they’re sharing. As you say, walk the talk or don’t put the shoes on. 😉

    • says

      @infoholic @KathleenCrone: That’s a great question. My own take is this – if it’s something that you disagree with morally or ethically, then you shouldn’t share no matter what. Otherwise you dilute your own beliefs, and that can never be good.

      But if it’s something you feel is truly worthwhile and it’s not going against any of your core beliefs, then you’re helping others, and that can only be a good thing. :)

    • KathleenCrone says

      @infoholic @KathleenCrone: Thanks for challenging me to think more deeply about this.

      I do post comments that I think will be helpful for other people but that I would not do/use myself because I see myself as a facilitator. I try to make it easy for builders to stay up to date.

      I guess I was referring to more ethical/value based tweets such as the r u ok ones where people seem to very quickly jump on the band wagon, it seems with little thought. Perhaps it’s more about clear about the reasons you use social media and then being consistent with how and why you pass on information and resources.

      Enjoying how this discussion is unfolding

    • infoholic says

      @KathleenCrone I suppose this all comes down to Iggy’s 8th Point – Think before you speak. I agree that all too often people just blindly re-tweet or post something because they can rather than because they should.

      You have made me think more deeply about my ethical position on “re-tweeting” or “liking”. I am trying to work out where the line is between a utilitarian (greatest good for the greatest number) approach and me promoting my personal viewpoint. Where in John Stuart Mill when you need him?

      On that topic I wonder what philosophers of centuries passed would make of modern day communication tools and how we are using them?

      Maybe we should have a “Should you really post that?” confirmation dialog that appears when we post something on Twitter and Facebook.

  8. KarenMorris says

    Great post Iggy. Couldn’t agree more. It never ceases to amaze me that people think the online “world” is some alien space. It’s normal human interaction and therefore the rules of playing nice apply equally here.

    I’ll add another one: Don’t gossip (that’s the polite way of saying it, as this usually applies to girls!) Make sure you keep your personal opions about people to yourself, or take it up with them personally in a private domain. Everything you say will get back to them eventually – especially online!

  9. KarenMorris says

    Great post Iggy. Couldn’t agree more. It never ceases to amaze me that people think the online “world” is some alien space. It’s normal human interaction and therefore the rules of playing nice apply equally here.

    I’ll add another one: Don’t gossip (that’s the polite way of saying it, as this usually applies to girls!) Make sure you keep your personal opinions about people to yourself, or take it up with them personally in a private domain. Everything you say will get back to them eventually – especially online!

    • says

      @KarenMorris I think sometimes it’s necessary to offer an opinion about someone, or something. Obviously as long as it’s not too personal, or derogatory for the sake of being derogatory through dislike, for example.

      But rebutting a wrong fact, or voicing your take on someone’s views in your industry – I think they can be useful in keeping opinions open on what could be an otherwise one-sided take?

      Thanks for stopping by, Karen, and glad you enjoyed Iggy’s post. :)

    • KarenMorris says

      @DannyBrown Oh, I totally agree on the open discussion of opinions and facts. I was referring more to expressing your opions about a person themselves, rather than perhaps actions they’ve taken or things they’ve said that you may take issue with. Avoiding the ‘he’s this’ or ‘she’s that’ stance. Disagreeing with comments made by someone in open discussion is all part of healthy human debate.

    • KarenMorris says

      @DannyBrown Oh, I totally agree on the open discussion of opinions and facts. I was referring more to expressing your opions about a person themselves, rather than perhaps actions they’ve taken or things they’ve said that you may take issue with. Avoiding the ‘he’s this’ or ‘she’s that’ stance. Disagreeing with comments made by someone in open discussion is all part of healthy human debate.

  10. hollingsworth says

    Great post Iggy, and spot on. I like 2, 7 and 10:
    – Are you going out looking like that?
    – Everything in moderation.
    – Go clean your room!

    We often forget about just how many “web presences” we set up and perhaps no longer update or maintain. How do you find them all and check? Start with some healthy “Egosuring” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egosurfing ) to check that what’s out there is what you’d be happy to take home to mother (“the mum rule”

  11. hollingsworth says

    Great post Iggy, and spot on. I like 2, 7 and 10:
    – Are you going out looking like that?
    – Everything in moderation.
    – Go clean your room!

    We often forget about just how many “web presences” we set up and perhaps no longer update or maintain. How do you find them all and check? Start with some healthy “Egosuring” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egosurfing ) to check that what’s out there is what you’d be happy to take home to mother (“the mum rule”)

  12. JourneyJottings says

    Perhaps another one ~
    Look at your contacts in the eye and engage with them ~
    With so much of our lives conversing from behind a screen (computer) the social niceties of reaching out to celebrate their wins and console in their losses shouldn’t be lost –
    Linda

    • says

      @JourneyJottings One of the reasons I like video blogs (or video conference meetings) – it replicates the very “look in the eye” approach you mention here. And there’s nothing better at seeing how trustful someone is by looking them in the eye. Great point :)

  13. JulieWalraven says

    Think before you speak and watch where you post it. When I was new to Twitter, I didn’t really get who could see what I was saying. Now more likely, I need to watch closely to make sure my DM stayed a DM. A backdoor conversation without context sounds really strange or worse on the front page.

  14. lisahickey says

    I agree that the simple truths like these help the online experience become more like the real-world one. And if everyone can just remember to treat others with respect — ahhhh.

    But I also wonder if we worry so much about how to shape our *own* image that we let that get in the way of really connecting, understanding and believing in other people despite the many ‘flaws’ most of us have. I hope that the online experience — and the ability to connect with some many people who not only share our viewpoint but *don’t* share our views — will ultimately help make us all less judgmental and the world a better place.

    • says

      @lisahickey So true, Lisa, and something we all need to remember. Whenever I’m helping folks get acquainted online – whether it’s friends or clients – I try and emphasize to always be yourself and not lose track of what matters to you. Yes, be respectful, but don’t be too respectful that you lose your own voice as well.

  15. says

    here’s another one. “it’s not WHAT you said, it’s HOW you said it” – I got that one a lot on account of, I’m a big bitch. How it applies to social media? Well no one wants to be talked down to, your condescending babble is only hurting yourself

  16. brandonacox says

    My parents taught me never to fry balogna naked. That one definitely applies to social media!!… I’m just not sure how yet. But it’s good wisdom to follow – just like your post, Danny!

    • says

      @brandonacox Ha, can’t argue with that advice, Brandon :)

      My grandfather once told me that if I remember one thing in life, it’s to stand up before I flush. I didn’t ask him what made that stand out for him; but I’ve stuck to it ever since 😉

      Glad you enjoyed @iggypintado ‘s post :)

  17. says

    Thanks Iggy & Danny … that’s what I believe social media is all about.Back to those good ‘old fashioned’ values … one more to add that my mother instilled in us at a very early age … ‘you lay down with dogs, you get up with flees’
    Great Post!!!
    Cheers
    Michele Smorgon @maxOz

  18. Suellen_Hughes says

    Great post Iggy. As a mother now myself, I wonder whether I’ll be saying these things to my son…probably.

    One that sprang to mind for me and that I know that I’ve already said “just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to do it” how might that one apply? I watch what others are doing and “supposedly” making millions and think, should I just go that cheap, easy way too? Then I remember my mum’s wise words and stay true to my values….but what if I applied that thinking to Twitter, Facebook, Blogging etc?

    • says

      @Suellen_Hughes One of the things my company always tells clients is that social media may not be for them – at least, not all of social media. You have to pick platforms where you’re both strong and can really allocate yourself to be there.

      Like you (rightly) say, just because others are doing something doesn’t mean you need to as well. Do what feels right and feels like you. :)

  19. DanielSharkov says

    Those are some great tips. Making a relation between parents’ words and social media is a great idea. Strangely how many advices apply in both cases.

  20. CaroleRiley says

    What about ‘Don’t talk to strangers’? Could lead to a discussion with your kids about befriending people in Facebook, etc, that they don’t know personally.

    • says

      @CaroleRiley I’ve started being more judicious when it comes to my personal Facebook profile, Carole. Not so much from a “I don’t want to…” mindset – more from what I’ve seen some folks post, and it’s not something I’d want to be attached too.

      And as recent stories have shown (the sad case of the teen suicide in the U.S. after his meeting with a guy was broadcast on Facebook), it’s even more important to be 100% comfortable with who you’re connected with.

  21. eCusty says

    I can completely relate to this! Not only do I try and think about these little rules but with my recent addition of my father to my Facebook I definitely seem to consider this one, “Are you going out looking like that?”

    As I post pictures to my wall, not only do I stop and think about future employees but I start thinking about my dad! And trust me it’s not like my dad finds humor in a lot when it comes to his little girl.

    • says

      @eCusty Ha, I think parents going onto Facebook has changed the way a lot of folks interact on that platform, Elizabeth. 😉

      And being the father of a little girl, I see where you’re coming from completely with your last sentence. :)

  22. ambercleveland says

    So what you’re saying is that my mom has always know what she was talking about. LOL. Thanks for a light, easy to follow, and informative post. I think that the people who participate in #SMmanners chat would like this.

    • says

      @ambercleveland You know, funnily enough, I thought of the #SMmanners chat when @iggypintado sent me his post. You’re right, it’d be a perfect fit.

      And yes – moms definitely know best! 😉

  23. says

    “Tell me who admires and loves you, and I will tell you who you are” –
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery – remember who your target audience is and what that says about you or your business!
    Focus on quality rather than quantity [& that is my recommendation
    I’ll shut up now … cheers Michele

  24. KellyPoelker says

    Great post. What’s interesting is now the roles have reversed and we’re now teaching our parents these things for social media.

  25. SerinaKelly says

    Absolutely love this post – so much I posted it on my blog with giving credit to you and Iggy – still learning about blogging etiquette, so if I crossed a line, please let me know.

    The older I get, the more wise my parents have become :). Great advice. Thanks!

    • says

      @SerinaKelly Hey there Serina,

      Thank you – though I think full credit goes to @iggypintado – I just gave him the real estate :)

      And no blogging etiquette broken – you could actually teach some folks a thing or two about attribution, it would seem! :)

    • SerinaKelly says

      @DannyBrown It will be posted for all in my small circle of friends tomorrow. Thank you for the comment and the reassurance. Looking forward to reading and learning more from you and those you give real estate too :).

  26. ed_han says

    That was excellent! I cannot believe how often these simple things we all knew in kindergarten are forgotten so easily.

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