Social Media Etiquette (or TMI?)

When you are out in the ‘real world’, talking to someone face to face, it is relatively easy to gauge how you should behave in the situation you find yourself in  (at least it is for most of us). Its very likely that we would behave differently in different situations, such as having beer and pizza with a group of close friends, attending a business networking event, or at a formal dinner.   It’s possible that you could find yourself with some of the same people at these different events, but would the tone of the conversation be the same? I doubt it.

I do believe that we should be honest in our dealings with people (be yourself, in other words), but I also believe in the importance of self-censoring, ensuring your behaviour and language is appropriate for the circumstances.

Shouldn’t it be the same with social media?

I use LinkedIn and Twitter a lot; both are ‘social media’ but they are very different. I’m used to people posting updates on twitter as much as 20 times a day, and that is fine. I like to hear about their day (sometimes!), and I am interested in the links they share. I learn a lot about a wide range of topics, from education to politics, to technology and even a bit of gossip.  Twitter is a club with many rooms, and I choose which ones to visit using tools like Tweetdeck.  But with LinkedIn, I’m always in business mode, and I want to see just a few, highly relevant work related updates.

And yet some people use these spaces indiscriminately, and every thought they think or link they want to share gets posted automatically on both networks. Well, as far as I am concerned, linking your LinkedIn updates to your Twitter feed is lazy and results in far ‘Too Much Information’, that overwhelms my LI home page and blocks the information that I really want to see there.

It seems I’m not alone in being annoyed by this, in fact I have yet to find anyone that likes the constant stream of twitter updates that some people post on LI. Frustrated by yet another day of excessive postings, I posted this on LI “LinkedIn is NOT the same as twitter. Please, please, please disconnect your twitter posts from LI!” I was overwhelmed with responses, all strongly in agreement. A few people pointed out the benefits of cross posting in reaching a wider audience, but they emphasised the importance of relevance, and of not taking an undiscriminating approach.  Some people are saying that they are starting to ‘unfriend’ people that persist in these activities, whilst others are hiding* updates from certain individuals. Is this what you want to happen to you? There must be a better way of sharing. If you come across an interesting article on Twitter that you want to share on LinkedIn, why not share it in a relevant LI group? It takes a little more effort, but it reaches a much more targeted audience.  That’s surely better than losing the attention of valuable contacts through overzealous sharing?

What do you think?

*Here’s a useful tip to get rid of the chatterboxes from your LI home page. You can simply hide their updates, by hovering over their update and clicking on the ‘hide’ link that appears in the right hand corner of their update (look closely, its grey and not easy to see).

Published by Fiona

Fiona was once a hands-on scientist and still has a curious mind. She combines strategic thinking with an entrepreneurial attitude and the ability to make great connections. She also takes photos.

5 thoughts on “Social Media Etiquette (or TMI?)

  1. Hi Fiona,
    There are quite a few ways to enable automatic cross-posting of various sorts. I use Twitterfeed to send my new blog posts straight to LinkedIn. These are business relevant, and relatively infrequent, so hopefully of interest to my contacts. I am also writing a book about the various tools that can be used and stressing the need for people to send the right messages to the right audience. I certainly dont want to encourage noise and more spam, but sometimes it is necessary to find efficient ways of updating the various social media channels.

    1. Yes, these tools are very useful. Used correctly, Tweetdeck etc make it much easier to post the right message to the right place, and allow you to be selective about what you cross-post.

  2. Hi Fiona,

    I agree with your points.

    Unfortunately LinkedIn now suffers from a lot of spam posts, whether they be an auto-post from someones Twitter account or whether it’s simply someone constantly pushing sales messages in the various groups – which I personally find worse than the auto-post from Twitter etc.

    I rarely actually look at the LinkedIn update page now.

    I always use the #in tag when I want something to go to LinkedIn – doesn’t take any time and there is more chance of someone looking at and engaging with you on that platform.

    Everything else said though, it’s an individuals choice how and when they post. If it works for them, then that’s cool. We all ultimately have the choice of un-following or “hiding” that persons posts so we don’t get irritated by them.


    1. Thanks Kevin. I completely agree that people should do what is right for them, and we are all still learning here. Its partly because I have so many contacts that this is probably more of an issue for me. I only use LinkedIn for people I have actually met, so I don’t like to ‘hide’ them. However the noise in all of these channels is getting so loud that I need to find a way to manage it. This is going to become more of a problem as our contact lists grow ever bigger.

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