Social media Etiquette for business

As a communication tool, social media has a key role in society. On one hand, I embrace it. But on the other, I reject it.

I love social media for all the reasons many people do: I can connect with others who would normally be hard to reach, I can communicate quickly and creatively, I can find out what others are doing, and I can learn.

But there’s still a lack of etiquette many people possess when using social media. On sites like Twitter and Facebook, do all old-school means of social etiquette get thrown out the window? Or do most people not even know what classifies as proper social etiquette to begin with?

A recent discussion with Lisa Filpi Goeckler, who has a new social media endeavor with ON Food, a startup in Beverly Hills that partners with fitness professionals and real people offering all-in-one food solutions, led me to contemplate this. Lisa’s shared a few stories with me, the first occurring a few months ago when she found out about her good friend and co-worker’s death.

“There I was, sipping coffee one morning, when I saw a post from another former co-worker on Facebook, ” Goeckler said. “It read something like, ‘Today, as I ride down the street on my bike, I think about how thankful I am to be alive. It is incidences like what happened to Brad this past weekend that make one stop, reflect, and cherish life.’ I thought to myself, ‘That seems odd, what is he referring to? Is this the Brad I know? Did something happen to him?’”

It was quickly confirmed through a string of Facebook messages that Goeckler’s friend died of a major heart attack. “I was not keen on the way I found out about the death, ” she said. “It seemed so impersonal.”

A few months later, Goeckler found out–also through social media–that a relative of hers had breast cancer. She says that finding this out via social media–not a phone call–was a disconnected and impersonal way to find out such serious news.

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