Can you see the P’s and Q’s in Social Media?

Santa on laptop

That time of year is once again upon us where we dig deep; we generate a list of ‘MUST’ buys and exhaust our bodies and our savings to celebrate the ‘BIG DAY‘. We cook for each other, drink with one another and push our bodies to belt-stretching gluttony. But, why is this?

It’s something that’s been instilled in us from an early age. The festive period is a time for giving and receiving, sharing and celebrating. It’s a time which should bring us closer together, not always physically – sometimes spiritually. We visit that certain someone, we pick up the phone, we send a card, send a gift, and through almost every single interaction there’s an underlining connection; two simple words in acknowledgement of the kind gesture that you’ve shared or received – thank you.

I’d like to think that manners is something else that’s been drummed into us all from the moment we’re able to communicate our first words. When my daughter Jessica first started to mutter words to me I would encourage her to say ‘please’ whenever she asked for something and ‘thank you’ whenever she received what she’d asked for. Admittedly those words were more like “peeeeez” and “taaaaaa” but she soon grasped the concept and now, at nearly 2 and a half, she projects her manners beautifully.

As we approach the final leg of this festive run-in I’ve started to think about our behaviours and draw on the similarities I’ve observed around Social Media. I used to enjoy the high street, especially around Christmas, but it’s become more like a contact sport. Some people enjoy the tussle, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled upon, and the ecstasy of the purchase. But it’s not for me. The ill manners, more specifically, started to get to me. The pushing and shoving, lack of door holding or non-thanks for your efforts, really started to grind on me. So I now take the easy option and work through the majority of my list online.

Don’t get me wrong I haven’t given up on the high street. I’m happy to put my hand in my pocket when visiting towns, villages and seaside resorts – there’s something really special about visiting those quaint little shops, but at this time of the year I don’t think the high street can compete with the online checkout.

FB thanks

And whilst online I also feel I have a duty of attention to our social communities. I have accounts in a number of channels. If you’re a friend of mine on my personal Facebook you’ll notice I make every effort to wish every single one of my 600+ buddies a happy birthday, every year. Some of these people I haven’t seen since I was at school but it’s something instilled into my very nature to do this. If we’re connected through my twitter you may notice the fact that almost every interaction I get is recognised with a thank you. A follow, a mention or a retweet; I appreciate all of these gestures and feel it is only right to express my gratitude. And if you leave me a comment on my blog I’ll always endeavour to leave you a response. This is me, it’s what I do.

So whilst we’re all getting into the spirit of Christmas this month lets also get into the spirit of social interactions. There’s no cost to you for expressing a little manners – just a little of your time – but think about the promotion and the praise that last person has just given you and where it could lead to. We’ll never completely eradicate the trolls and the haters in social media but isn’t it a nice thought that we could drown the noise from these ‘unwanted’ with the compliments and pleasantries we share with one another.

2012 is the first year I can say I’ve been genuinely active on Social Media and if there’s one heartfelt lesson I can take away from it all it’s this; our online social communities are all about engagement. Paul Taylor is the no.1 advocate for this in my opinion – a true digital champion (give him a follow if you don’t already). Not only does he bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and common sense to Social Media, he also brings personality, sense of humour and heaps of appreciation. It’s a great balance to his character and he has qualities we could all take something from.

So whilst Father Christmas waits in the wings to bring a bundle of presents to your communities (and I sincerely hope he does), have a think what presence you can bring within your digital communities. You have a wonderful opportunity to present yourself and your organisation within Social Media, to be an ambassador in your own digital realm, so make the experience a pleasant and social one for each and everyone.

Have a safe and a happy holiday and I’ll see you in 2013!



13 thoughts on “Can you see the P’s and Q’s in Social Media?

  1. Great post Andy and thanks for the mention. Made my day. Undeserved but appreciated.

    Two points from me:

    Firstly – you are right about the High St. People are switching online for two reasons -better prices and better service. Only a few (often independent) retailers are bucking this trend by making the service so special it actually adds value to going “real life” shopping. Worth all of us bearing that in mind when reflecting on our own service.

    The point I think is really interesting is how we translate manners online – the same way you are educating your daughter. Many of us are digital immigrants and have had to learn online etiquette. Picking up on your theme I learned by following people like Helen Reynolds, Shirley Ayres , Kate Hughes. Follow people with good online behaviours and it usually rubs off on you. The same as when we were in school. It is different and more complex online though, and sometimes people will get it wrong and we should bear with them. We should never tolerate haters and I love the idea of drowning them out.

    Have a great holiday too – looking forward to 2013


    • You’re very welcome, Paul. And yes, it IS very much deserved – I’ve learned so much from you in Social Media this year and I’m pretty certain I’m not the only one!

      These are great points you make too.

      1) High Street stores really do need to stand out from the crowd if they want to be recognised by us savvy customers, they need to make it more of a ‘sense of occasion’ and not be just ‘another store’ with lacklustre service to suit.

      2) Behaviour breeds behaviour, we should treat each other as we wish to be treated ourselves. So yes, you’re absolutely right, we can learn online etiquette from following some pretty fantastic people; I too follow Helen, Shirley and Kate!

      Thanks for your comments Paul and enjoy your break!


  2. Great blog Andy. Manners cost nothing, and it’s often that 2 way exchange that makes the difference, makes you feel special and keeps your loyalty. Without it customers will soon look elsewhere.


    • Couldn’t agree more Lynn, that two way exchange can happen anywhere but just through a small amount of friendly conversation the experience always feels that little more valued.

      Thanks for your comments!


  3. Great Blog and information about social media! Very nice blog page too.


  4. Andy, Some lovely thoughts, thank you. Its great following and observing your social media activity as it helps a novice like me keep pushing the boundaries. Cheers


    • What a lovely thing to say Penny, thank you so much. It’s amazing how much you can learn from one another. I’ve only really been using Social Media ‘effectively’ in the last 12 months yet even now I still feel I have so much more to learn.


  5. Manners cost nothing but certainly appreciated and makes you a much liked colleague and friend to many.


    • Thank you so much *blushes* that really means a lot to me.

      You’re absolutely right, manners really don’t cost a thing yet the appreciation is so highly valued. Let’s hope people continue to use them more and more.


  6. Enjoyed reading this and look forward to some more fantastic blogs from you in the New Year Andy.


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