Social Media Hacks and Etiquettes for Millennials

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  1. 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 re tweak your bio as you evolve.
  2. Do not beg for things on social media.
  3. Screen the people you follow and prune your following list frequently. The people you follow on social media, says a lot about you. What is interesting about this point is,  the people you want to be noticed by will most likely screen your ‘following’ list second to flipping through the content you have on your page.
  4. Be careful, how you engage on social media. People are watching- those that matter and those you think do not matter. As a matter of dignity and in the spirit of being a proper human, do not leave spiteful comments on pages and blogs. It is really not that deep plus, it is possible not to agree with something and keep mute about it, and if you must disagree, there are ways to do it without name calling and arguing.
  5. As a social precaution, do not send just ‘Hello’ to someone you are just meeting. 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 to and then state your reason for reaching out. All these must be in one message. Do not send them individually awaiting a response for each text. If you do that, you are sending a message to the other person that will skew their perception of you. Personally, I never take people like this seriously. They lose me at Hello. Once, I screen your Whatsapp/Skype/ Text message/ DM/Mail and your Hello is not accompanied by another message stating your intent, I am out. 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.
  6. 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. This is a social media nuance I had to learn. People could be active online for a million and one reasons that has nothing to do with chatting or texting. When you send a message and they do not respond, don’t sulk and throw a “they are ignoring me” pity party. They are not ignoring you, they just cannot reply at that time. Personally, I send my mentors lengthy mails and Whatsapp text 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. (phone number, email/home/office address, referral letter, recommendation details, things of that sort) It doesn’t matter how close the relationship is, always ask for their consent. In recent times, I needed both my mentors as referrals for an opportunity. I didn’t assume, they wouldn’t mind me using their details when filling the referral form. I asked. Please ask. It shows respect and courtesy.
  7. For friendships, do not disregard (social media)value systems because of familiarity, it ruins relationships and 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 “well she is my friend” OR you know this person is really really busy and would prefer you write out all your message at once to save them time but naaah never! You don’t do that. “After all (s)he is my friend, I should be an exception.” You are an exception and that is why you should know better. When you disregard your friend’s value system and certain key processes for doing things because of familiarity, it 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. Personally, in dealing with people like these, I call them out, at other times, I use the tonal factor and at other times I simply overlook.
  8. Don’t add people to a group without asking for their permission first and if you do add them without their consent, immediately send them a message notifying them why their presence is needed on that group. Don’t assume they should want to be on the group because you run it. Always confirm first before adding them.
  9. For the group admins, if a participant asks to be excused, please do the courteous thing. Oblige them without trying to psychologically bully them. I have had encounters where the admin starts to give me reasons that should invalidate my reasons for leaving. Personally, once I study the  patterns of a group and I know I will not be able to keep up, I ask to be removed. Passive participation has never being my thing. In that particular scenario I stated above, the admin refused to remove me from the group. So, I gave an intro speech and left.
  10. Last on my rather inexhaustible list is a point I believe every millennial needs to hang up on their walls. Here we go: Except you make a living or churn out some form of relevance by posting on social media, you really do not have to be on every social media platform.

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 greatly and I strongly believe will help you immensely too.

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