Category Archives: Ethics
When I taught high school, I heard quite a few teachers say that texting is killing the English language. They blame texting and emailing for the slow decline of proper writing and speaking skills. “The kids write like they talk, and they write incorrectly.” Funny thing is, the kids know what they’re saying to each other. And this text speak shows no signs of slowing.
Everywhere I go, people are walking around texting. They text in line, they text while shopping, driving, dining out, and they even text while attending classes and meeting. People are absolutely glued to their phones, and they are in a constant state of texting. What’s interesting, though, is that the hurried nature of texting makes it difficult to pay attention to grammar, so what we get is a new sort of shorthand that makes texting more efficient.
Whenever I receive a text, an email, or a Facebook message, many of the messages are riddled with “LOLs” and “jks” and “how r us”. It used to bother me, but now I find myself relenting and participating. But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of switching on the “proper” writing rules.
I’m not as much of a stickler as some of my colleagues. I’ve been known to use a “2″ instead of a “to” or “two” on Twitter to make a sentence work, but that’s very rare. I feel the constant use of text speak is a sign of laziness, but also a sign of hurriedness. We’re giving up accuracy for efficiency, which has ups and downs.
It should be a very key concept in writing studies that writing online means creating a version of yourself that will ultimately reflect on your reputation. Most social media users probably wouldn’t think of themselves as writer, when, in fact, that is what they are. We are creators of internet versions of ourselves, which can be both empowering and detrimental at once.
I see all sorts of bad choices on Facebook pages every day. The destroyed language. The derogatory remarks. The gossip. What we need is to remember that there are rules of engagement in social media communities.
Here is a helpful set of Rules laid out by Eric Brantner from Digital Labz:
1. Give More than You Receive- If you want to receive attention from others online, you have to be willing to give it first. It’s the old “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” routine. You can’t bust onto a social media site with a sense of entitlement thinking you should be a top user immediately. You have to earn respect from others. How do you do this? By giving more than you receive.
2. Don’t be a Keyboard Gangsta- Probably the worst thing about the Internet is the keyboard gangstas. You’ve surely run across at least one of these in your lifetime. They sit at their keyboard talking trash to everyone they encounter. They say things online that they would never have the nerve to say to a real person’s face. Don’t try to ruin everyone else’s online experience because you don’t have any friends in real life.
3. Add Value to the Site- At the end of the day, the thing that will earn you great connections with others is if you add value to the community. This means not submitting content that nobody cares about and not constantly promoting your brand. Before you ever submit anything to a social media site, ask yourself “Does this article really add value to the community?” If not, reconsider submitting it.
4. Don’t Sabotage Other’s Efforts- This is self-explanatory. Drop all of your e-beefs and hatred. Don’t try to bury others just for the sake of getting ahead. Making enemies on social media sites will get you nowhere fast, and you really do reap what you sow.
5. Remember that Cheaters Never Win- Instead of trying to game the system, why don’t you focus on building a successful social media presence the right way. Sure, you might be able to get some amazing results by cheating, but eventually, you will get caught. And once everyone sees you for the cheater you are, you can’t un-ring that bell.
6. Build Quality Relationships- People are more willing to help those who they really know. By building quality relationships with other users, you’ll always have someone in your corner to back you up. Remember, relationships require the participation of both parties; so, always be a good participant in your social media relationship.
7. Stop Pushing the Envelope- One of the fastest ways to alienate people online is to constantly flood them with requests for helping you out. Whether you’re constantly shouting your content or always Tweeting asking people to comment on your blog, eventually, everyone will lose their patience with you. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. People will tune you out if you’re constantly pushing the envelope.
8. Respect the Community- This might be the most important rule of social media etiquette. Show respect to the community. It’s not that hard to do. Just make sure you don’t step out of line, and always treat everyone the way you want to be treated. These are simple social skills you should already be following in real life; now, you just have to follow them online too.
9. Listen to Others- Your first reaction whenever someone disagrees with you online is probably to tell them how wrong they are. Instead of constantly fighting back, take the time to listen to what they’re really saying. Listen to the people commenting on your blog or Tweeting at you. Understand where they’re coming from. You don’t know everything, and you can learn from others if you take the time to listen.
10. Be Accountable for Your Actions- Because of the anonymity the Internet allows, there is little to no accountability online. People say and do whatever they please without facing any repercussions. Don’t be that guy. Instead, try to be honorable by taking responsibility your actions online. By being accountable, people will respect you, whether they agree with you or not.
11. Be Nice- All of these points add up to one thing—just be nice. Is it really too much to ask for people to be kind to one another? Call me old-fashioned if you like, but there’s nothing wrong with being nice to others online.