Everybody wants to create rules for engagement when it comes to using social media. There have been several instances recently of folks raising concerns about how we use these tools, leading to some very heated and intense debates. The most recent example to come across my screen came via a tweet by Mack Collier about a post suggesting a rule for using Twitter. I shared a comment suggesting that perhaps Mr. Kranz was trying to channel Jonathan Swift (with some interesting results). BTW, for folks looking to filter the conversations on Twitter, take a look at TweetDeck.
Part of the issue is that these tools are being used by all types of people, all seeking different results. As a result, you’ve got people (including myself) looking at the virtual world through different lenses saying that you must do this or that to be effective.
I’ll share my own #1 rule – You must engage.
I came up with this rule because I figured that it was the broadest but most important thing to remember about being social. It does no good to gather all of this information if you don’t use it or talk about it with others.
Sometimes the engagement will take place online; other times via email after someone has read your blog post. There will be times that you will never know if what you shared sparked a discussion because it did not take place online, but shouldn’t it be sufficient enough to know it could have happened?
Perhaps people need to stop being so nit picky about how some suggest using the tools and just dig in. We must decide exactly what we want out of our use of social media and set our own rules of engagement based on those goals, taking suggestions from anyone with a grain of salt.
In the case of those who find this blog, I hope it means looking at the needs of the nonprofit or community revitalization effort you’re involved in and figuring out just how all of these social media tools can help you and then doing it, sharing and engaging along the way.
What do you think?
Photo: Pool Rules. Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr