In one of my classes we are required to study a list of guidelines, then come up with 5 guidelines of our own for web and social media. In my experiences, there are certain things that can make or break you as a professional. I decided to share my guidelines here:
1. Professionalism – Let's face it, there are a lot of bullies and “trolls” on the internet trying to get a rise out of anyone who will let them. Hiding behind a screen is a safe place when you are a bully. It's important not to give these people what they want. Be professional. Do not take anything personal and do not sink to their level by calling names or other immature behavior, or worse, by joining in with them. This can look very bad for you, especially if you are speaking as, or on behalf, of a business or professional. If someone is getting the best of you and you can't respond in a professional manner, the best thing to do is walk away and come back to it with a clear head, or not at all. Be the bigger man.
2. Opinions/Assholes – Ever heard the phrase “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink?” Well, the same holds true on the web. People like to express their thoughts and feelings on certain matters, and many people will chime in with their two cents. While you may not always agree with other people, it's important to respect others' opinions as you would expect them to respect yours. Often times you will learn new things about people you thought you already knew. Be prepared for that too.
3. Keep it positive – There is enough negativity in the world, and everyone has had a rough life. We don't need any more negativity. That's not to say you can't have your own feelings, but there is a way to handle certain situations that can result in positive outcomes. Don't put people down, and don't cross boundaries. Be optimistic. Be the “glass half full” guy and try to keep things positive. Nobody likes a Negative Nelly.
4. Try to learn something new everyday – The internet is full of information, the possibilities are endless. It would be a great waste if we didn't use it to better ourselves. You should also take what you learn and share it with someone else so they can learn too.
5. Be honest – Same with the positivity guideline, there is so much crap floating around the web, it's hard to tell what is real anymore. Always be truthful and back up your findings.
Leave a comment with your own Internet guidelines below.