Tips for social media communication etiquette

Have you ever sent a message to someone on social media but, never received feedback or perhaps you did but, your next line of communication brought the conversation to an abrupt end? Well, this is why it happened.

In the age of information and technology, globalization of trade, economics and culture has become a norm, prevalent in all societies of the world. As a result, people all over the world can communicate with one another on the internet without proximity barriers as well connect with different kinds of people from different places and countries without any problems. However, the flexibility and Interactivity elements of communication on the internet nowadays has also brought negative traits and behavior in people such as cyber bullying, cyber terrorism, sexual harassment, pornography and many more. As a result, people on social media are always alert and suspicious of connecting with strangers especially when the receiver of the message deems it as inappropriate and suspicious.

This also has to do with how people approach others without regards for communication etiquette. In my years of being on social media and Interacting with people I know as well as strangers, i realized that people do not know how to communicate on social media platforms or perhaps these are common mistakes that people make unknowingly. Either way, they are fatal obstacles to connecting with celebrity idols or public figures, mentors, potential friends, business partners or lovers, the list is endless.

Therefore, I came up with a few tips on how one can conduct themselves in conversations when reaching to someone for the first time.

1. Usage of formal language

Unless you personally know the person you are messaging on social media, do not be informal in your greetings. This trait is mostly common on Facebook messages because it gives you the privilege to connect with people you are not friends with on Facebook.

Messages like “Hai cute”, “Tinasha you are beautiful” or I” miss you” are totally not the best messages to start a conversation with someone you don’t know and are communicating to for the first time. Even if you don’t have bad intentions, the receiver of the messenger will not definitely think you are one of those people that look for sexual relationships online and shun from you.

Therefore, a formal greeting like “Hello, how are you doing or how are you”is appropriate when reaching out to a stranger because it highlights some seriouness to your message and the receiver automatically assumes that you have something positive to say at the end of the day.

2. Avoid asking suspicious questions

Questions like where do you stay or which part of Lusaka do you stay? Are inappropriate when you are reaching out to someone for the first time. It tends to paint the sender as a suspicious person. Even if you just asking because you want to know if there is a chance of ever meeting this person, you criteria is wrong unless you are conducting a certain kind of delivery business. Just like physical interpersonal communication, it is important to follow an orderly manner of getting to know someone. There is need to establish trust between you and the receiver because once you jump a stage, you risk been ghosted, forever!

3. Introduction is vital

We all know that most people on social media especially Facebook hardly use their real names. Therefore, a proper introduction plays an important role in your success to receive feedback from the person you have communicated to for the first time.

Secondly, it is important that you state the reason why you are messaging someone for the first time. This is more appropriate when you are reaching out to an individual for professional reasons, for instance, mentorship, job opportunities, pitching an idea or business proposal, etc. Public figures and celebrities usually have a PR team facilitating their social media posts and messages and if you are not precise on your reasons for messaging these people, your message will never reach the person you intended to communicate to.

4. Positive comments and likes on posts

Uploading positive and s nsible comments on posts of people you would like to connect with is also another way of attracting their attention. Like I said, it’s not easy to trust people online because of cybercrimes but your positive and keen interest on posts of the person you want to communicate with frequently for whatever reason is a good way to show them you are trustworthy and even if you directly message them, they will respond to you because of the familiarity that you have created between you two.

Not everyone on social media is bad and out to get someone that is why, I created these tips to help you understand that background and cultural differences bring about alot of distractions in. What you think is appropriate may be inappropriate for someone else hence, it is important to follow universal means of communication. You can’t say hai or hi to someone you are reaching out to for the first time and expect positive feedback. It’s not your fault, it’s the fault of those who have decided to use social media for the wrong reasons.

Furthermore, everyone should be on the lookout out for cyber offenders. Just because someone is polite and formal when messaging you doesn’t mean they have the best of intentions.

So, my lovelies; have fun in making new friends on social media but, remember to be cyber alert, look out for imposters and bad people; and be good internet users and media consumers. Till next time!♥️🇿🇲