I recently came across an article published in NY Mag on the new rules of social media. I thought I’d summarize what the author was saying in the article and then add in my own take for you. Here’s how it works: “Old Rule” and “New Rule” are from the author of the article. “My Analysis” is, well, my analysis. Let’s compare notes.
1. Personal Hashtags
Old Rule: The author explains the taboo nature of creating your own personal hashtag.
New Rule: If you don’t participate in a personal-group hashtag that your group has agreed to use on social media (ie: #JOMC240), you’re trying to stand out for the wrong reasons.
My Analysis: I agree that creating your own personal hashtag used to be tacky. But like selfies, it’s become an acceptable social media practice. So if you go to a buddy’s wedding, and he wants you to use to a personal hashtag, you better hashtag.
2. Breaking the Fourth Wall
Old Rule: You’re about two degrees of separation from stalking
New Rule: You’re still only two degrees of separation from stalking. But it’s not creepy anymore.
My Analysis: Yeah, this is still kind of a case-by-case basis. But when you meet someone for the first time, chances are that you’re going to take a gander through their Facebook and Instagram pages. And there’s just as good of a chance that they’re doing the same to you. Just be sure to not spew all of that information out next time you see each other. That’s where it gets weird.
Old Rule: With foursquare, and other more-confined location sharing apps, there was the expectation that only your friends on the app could see the location you posted. So not a big deal if you tagged someone else with you in the same spot.
New Rule: “Checking people in against their will on Facebook is grounds for justifiable manslaughter.” — Basically, check before you post.
My Analysis: Yes, with the ever growing publicity of even our private social media profiles it’s better to check in with others before posting a location. But I can definitely think of examples of when tagging someone in at a specific location is okay (think Dean Dome after a big UNC win). However, Instagram allows the user to customize the name of a location. And even if your photo is lackluster, you might gain a few likes from a witty geotag. Just don’t tag your home address.
4. Tagging Photos
Old Rule: Ask before you tag.
New Rule: If you don’t tag that person, it means you don’t like them or aren’t friends with them, or both.
My Analysis: Tag away. If someone doesn’t like the photo you tagged them in, they can either not accept the tag or pleasantly ask for you to remove the photo. People who care about what is posted on their Facebook pages most likely already have the “accept tag” feature locked in. If they don’t, they probably don’t care about the photo that much anyways. Use good judgement.
5. Shout-outs and Descriptions of Real Life
Old Rule: Shout away. Tweets about your friend’s obnoxious behavior are better than tweets about a meme.
New Rule: “We’re all friends with our co-workers, exes, and frenemies on Facebook, so the risk that you blow someone’s cover when you reveal the goings-on of his daily life is very high.”
My Analysis: Shout outs are still alive and well. I’m all about positivity, so if you are shouting out a friend to congratulate them, I’m rocking with you. Tweets about your friends and what you all are doing can be great if executed well. Do I care about your friend eating ice cream? Not really. Do I care about how your friend just dropped their ice cream cone on their pants? You’ve sparked my interest.
6. Crossing Streams
Old Rule: “No etiquette rule existed for crossing social-media streams, because it did not happen much.”
New Rule: “Don’t cross social streams. If you messaged her on Tinder and she didn’t reply, do not hunt her down on LinkedIn. This will get you a restraining order.”
My Analysis: Yeah don’t cross social streams. Ever. Unless it’s being reciprocated by the other party. It’s kind of like the double texting rule. The other individual doesn’t respond to your message? Don’t do it again. Also, crossing streams applies to posting content. Don’t Tweet verbatim what you just posted on Facebook. Yes, we all did this back in 2009. But now it’s 2015 and the rules have changed.