If you are a millennial, this post is your guide on navigating social media nuances and learning how to build virtual relationships. These are hacks and tips that have helped me and I strongly believe will help you immensely too.
A. Use the same profile picture and bio across all your platforms. It validates the credibility of your digital presence. Do not use a raunchy picture as a profile picture. Similarly, ensure there is an offline consistence with your online profile summary. Your bio should describe who you are and not who you were. We all evolve, so tweak your bio as you evolve.
B. Do not beg for things on social media.
C. Screen the people you follow and prune your following list frequently. The people you follow on social media says a lot about you.
D. Be careful how you engage on social media. People are watching—those that matter and those you think do not matter. Also, do not leave spiteful comments on pages and blogs. It is really not that deep plus, it is possible to silently disagree. If you must disagree, there are ways to do it without name calling and arguing.
E. As a social precaution, do not send just ‘Hello’ to someone you are just meeting.
Context: So you got this person’s contact through someone else and you need a service or you have a request. Please, do not send just Hello. Instead, start with a mild greeting, accompany it with courtesies depending on the person you are texting and then state your reason for reaching out. All these should be in one message.
It is extremely important you learn how not to waste people’s time. It is a fast paced world out there, people have varying commitments to respond to. Help them, by not wasting their time. When you send your messages at once, you are telling the other party: I value your time and I understand that the time spent answering my messages can be used for something else.
F. That a person’s online status reads ‘active’ doesn’t mean they want to talk to you. This is very important especially when the said person is someone you look up to. Do not interpret your mentor’s ‘active’ online status to mean they want to talk at that time.
People could be active online for reasons that have nothing to do with chatting or texting. When you send a message and they do not respond, don’t sulk or throw a “they are ignoring me” pity party. They may not be ignoring you.
Personally, I send my mentors lengthy mails and WhatsApp texts in the wee hours of the morning and I ensure I close my text with, “you can reply whenever you are free.” If it is a rather urgent need. I send a text message and then call.
Similarly, do not put your mentor’s details out there without asking for their permission. Sensitive details such as phone number, email address, home/office address, should be treated with discretion.
G. For friendships, do not disregard value systems because of familiarity, it ruins relationships especially friendships. You know for a fact that this person would rather you text them rather than call especially during work hours but you still go on ahead to call them OR you know for a fact that this person doesn’t want to be a participant on a group but you add them because “she is my friend” OR you know this person is quite busy and would prefer you write out all your message at once to save them time but naaah you disregard that.
When you disregard your friend’s value system and specific terms for doing things because of familiarity, it says a lot about who you are. It also shows a lack of social depth. The thing with lacking social depth is, it will eventually make you miss out on vital things in other relationships.
H. Do not add people to a social media group without asking for their permission first and if you do add them without their consent, send them a message immediately notifying them why their presence is needed on that group. Do not assume they want to be on the group because you run it. Always confirm first before adding them.
I. For group admins, if a participant asks to be excused, please do the courteous thing. Oblige them without trying to psychologically bully them.
Personal Opinion: Except you make a living from posting on social media, you really do not have to be on every social media platform.