When we meet new people in life, we naturally see the behaviour of others including their posture, body language, facial expressions and tone of voice and instantly decide whether to approach and start a conversation. First impressions are not only crucial when face-to-face but equally important online and a similar etiquette applies to both. But the added advantage of being face-to-face is that human intuition plays a part to help us to assess and gauge how the conversation is going, which is definitely harder to do online.
People you meet via social networking, forums and blogs will decide if they want to engage in a virtual conversation primarily based on what you have posted online and how they perceive you. By conversing online we all have the added advantage to “think before we speak” and can read back draft e-mails, tweets, blogs or status up-dates before hitting the send button, but it isn’t always what we say, but the way we say it and sometimes our messages are completely misunderstood. I know through personal experience that occasionally my messages may not read as intended!
So I have looked into this subject in a little more detail and have compiled a summary of hints and tips and ways to adapt to your audience, as each social network has its own netiquette:
- Facebook is generally for friends, you may have a little more freedom to say what you think and share your wild party photos as long as your boss or business associates aren’t included within your Facebook friends
- On Twitter don’t rant, as those rants will be seen eventually by current or future clients. For Twitter definitely think before you tweet and always remember your tweets are in the public domain
- LinkedIn is best for a professional style and formal approach with business firmly in mind at all times
Ultimately people do business with people and first impressions are very hard to change. There are times when others form an assumption which is not true and no matter what you say or do nothing will alter their opinion and that stigma is hard to shake in both the real and virtual worlds.
Before you post think how your message could be interpreted? As it is difficult to retrieve and un-do the damage when it’s out there in cyberspace.
How do you think you are perceived? And what creates a favourable first impression for you? I would love to know your thoughts.