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August 21, 2013 (Updated: February 9, 2023)
We all grew up hearing how important it is to be nice, “If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything…” and, “You get more bees with honey…”, and other creative sayings the “elders” said.
Being nice is not really that difficult and it really should be part of your foundation in social. We all know there are jerks out there that say mean things (and others that are just awful), but the truth of the matter is you don’t know their situation and the best way you can handle things is to just be nice.
When my son was getting old enough to drive I decided that he would not drive unless he could really see the people around him in other cars. What I mean by that is he may look over and see a woman, but in reality she was most likely someone’s mother, daughter, wife and/or sister. Someone loved that woman and would be devastated if she was hurt or gone.
It is easy to dismiss the safety of others when you don’t really see who they are. Likewise, it can be easy to dismiss a person in social as essentially words, but the reality is each response you get is from a real human.
It is easy to forget that every person has issues they must deal with that we can’t see. People could have sick family members, could be dealing with loss, could be dealing with a long-term illness and/or working two jobs to make ends meet after a divorce.
Everyone has something they deal with on a daily basis and when you are working in social you have to keep these things in mind. Someone may say something rude because they are having a really bad day or a really bad year. Being nice is an appropriate business response and on a socially responsible level you don’t ever want to take a chance on being the “final straw.” You just never know when that line will be crossed with people.
Note: Putting up with abuse is not something I recommend; there is a line, but it is important that you handle situations appropriately because people are watching and with screenshots bad responses are never forgotten. Just walk away, ignore or ban abusive people if necessary.
I have always tried to be respectful to those that communicate with me via Twitter or other social networks. The truth is if they reach out to me I think I owe them a response and being nice is at the top of my priority list. I haven’t always been perfect and I can’t be online 24/7, but I try because they are real people that deserve my respect.
I am thankful now being nice to people was a priority because people tell me at conferences that the main thing they know me for is being someone that is nice. I love that! There are so many disrespectful and rude people out there that even the influential people on Twitter appreciate someone being “nice”.
(Yes, I kept that tweet since June 2012 because the kind words meant a lot to me. People do not forget kindness.)
I cannot stress the importance of being nice and respectful enough. Typically people have groups of friends on Twitter and if you attack a person their friends come to defend them. You have now burned several bridges instead of just one. You never know when you might need someone later.
I have seen behavior on Twitter make a reputation or completely destroy a person’s/business’ reputation. I understand being angry and irritated at times, but it is best to just walk away and come back to tweet/talk when you are calm. Trust me; this is the best thing to do even if you need a week to cool off. Regret is something we all want to avoid.
Whoever you represent on social please keep in mind that making yourself stand out in a positive way is extremely memorable. If your social presence is in your name you really need to keep in mind that your name is your brand; you have to protect it and enhance it.
If you are a business or you are representing one it is scary to think that one wrong comment can destroy a business, but it can happen so please keep it in mind.
Let people/consumers see you and remember you in a positive light. We all know that in person being nice and being real can do wonders for friendship and engagement, but with social media it is seriously necessary.
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