Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rules I Follow for Social Media

No complaining. The book How to Win Friends and Influence People contains the number one principle for dealing with people: "Never criticize, condemn, or complain." This is an incredibly hard principle to follow in real life, but online, I try to stay by it. If I find myself starting to compose some kind of whiny rant, I step away. Everyone has complaints, so I'll spare you my daily aches and whines.

No family posts. I try not to write posts (or Tweets or Facebook statuses) about my wife and daughter. Yes, I blogged about Mia's first year, yes, I regularly posted pictures of her until kindergarten, and yes, Jenn and Mia occasionally appear in my Tweets, but you won't see posts that start with "My daughter today did this", or "My wife said that." They can post their own stories. They have their own voices.

No privacy settings. I don't expect any. My Facebook profile is open. My Twitter is open. The fine-grain "privacy" settings offered by Facebook is admirable, but I don't want to be in the business of managing my access, locking down my pictures, or separating friends and strangers and acquaintances. If I want to write 'privately', I use a diary.

No living online. The purpose of social media is to share your life, not to live your life. To that extent, I live my life out here, where there's air and water. I don't worry or apologize that my status is not accurate, or that "I haven't posted in a while." The online Rick exists so that people looking can find the real-life Rick.

No audience but me. I write for myself. I tweet to amuse myself (more specifically, my 'future self'). When I put something out there, I try to come back to the question "Would I want to read this in the future?" Today, the answer is yes.