Social Media in Movie Terms: Etiquette is Important.

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Audrey Isbell

Speaker and Author of "100 Simple Truths All Virtual Assistants Should Know"
Audrey Isbell
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Where do we begin with Social Media? Let’s start with some etiquette… shall we?

Don’t get me wrong. I have a sense of humor too. Sometimes it’s a rather dark sense of humor. Rarely, I’m using language not always appropriate for all social media account holders. Often though, we’re considering the over-all message put out there. No one is perfect when it comes to good communication but from a Virtual Assistant’s perspective…

Well, let’s just say we NEED to think of these things on behalf of our clients…and YOU should be thinking of them too.

If you’re using social media strictly for personal entertainment, you probably need not worry too much about your “authentic message”. Who you are on the personal page attracts the types of people who are generally okay with whatever sense of humor you may have (or lack… LOL! ;). If someone is offended by your personality, they’ll likely un-friend/un-follow you. Hopefully, you won’t be so out in the field of distasteful posting to be “reported”, with a result of having your account shut down. Be yourself on your personal pages, but DO remember your posting to the internet.

For people using these types of media for business, your “authentic message” does require some tactful wording and careful thought. Your level of professionalism and maturity are important. And since we also like to work with people who are fun and easygoing, you’ll find that there is a fine line between Fun Professional and Professional Irritant.

We work to maintain a Fun Professional appearance for ourselves and our clients by staying in touch with proper social etiquette. Proper etiquette matters, so we’ve put it into movie terms for you.

Rated G (for General Audiences) Good rule of thumb, but not always as engaging as we’d like our content to be. If you were asked to sit through endless amounts of children’s programming, you might go stark raving mad. However, in the social media realm, your post won’t be offending too many people. Go ahead and hit “send”.

PG (All Audiences) You’re good to go! Just the right mix to be fun and family-friendly.

PG-13 (The way it was in the 80’s) Do you remember how PG-13 used to only use very few cuss words and even less suggestive content? You might have been a little excited or embarrassed to see someone’s bare bottom on the screen…but all in all, the entertainment was in good taste. In social media terms, you might start by asking yourself: “Would this post make it into an 80’s PG-13 rated movie?” If the answer is YES, then the next questions should be: “Is this post family-friendly, and NOT likely to embarrass, or offend a family atmosphere?” If the answer is still YES, then you’re probably within reason to go ahead with the post. However, if the answer to either of those questions is NO or bordering on “no” then you can be sure you’re post is not in good taste for all or even most audiences. For most businesses, that is a danger zone!

NC 17 (Under 17 not permitted) You’re out of the family-friendly realm…this can make people uncomfortable. Computer and social media aficionados start younger and younger as technology advances. Young children begin to learn what it means to Skype before they learn what a telephone can do. If the post isn’t good for under 17 years of age, then you’re taking a risk putting it out there. Remember your page settings – facebook has a box you can check if you intend of posting explicit/suggestive content. Please be mindful and use this setting if you would rate your post (movie terms) an NC 17 or an R.

Rated R – Know Your Circles Here’s a very understandable rating. If you would cover the eyes of a child who happens to be nearby because the content is not in good taste for most all family members then it’s probably not a good idea to post it to the internet. Sure, the internet and many social platforms have restrictions and ways to secure the information (see NC 17) but keeping things family-friendly… let’s face it, the internet is not ‘lock and key’ as secure a place as we’d like to think. If you don’t have children, and you think this isn’t a concern please consider the following: Your neighbors children will grow up to fill positions in your community, local businesses and government, helping to decide your fate in your old age. Desensitizing our future leaders could hold terrible consequences, so please THINK BEFORE YOU POST. If you’ve considered these ratings and still feel the need to post explicit content, please double check that your social media settings speak to that fact, by identifying “for mature audiences only”. By identifying that your content has explicit material you will keep yourself out of trouble, knowing your circles and sphere of influence. Additionally, you’ll help to keep young curios minds out of trouble too.

So, here’s our recommendation for most business owners and social media lovers: Feel free to post all day long if you would give the content a G Rating, for general audiences. Post with caution if you would give the content a PG-13 (80’s era) rating, and maybe even consult a friend or colleague before hitting ‘send’. If you have a feeling that your post would be Rated NC 17 or R, …don’t even go there. Hit delete and skip the headache unless you know your settings and audiences super well. If you can find the PG rating, in-between G and PG-13 than you’re doing good! Happy posting!

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