Today the Wall Street Journal took a look into how we use social media in social situations — or in other words, social media manners. Tweeting at the dinner table, Instagramming while standing in the corner at a cocktail party, updating a Facebook status at a concert: we've all done it. But when does social media prevent us from being, well, social?
This conundrum in particular impacts bloggers on almost a weekly basis. Often times we are invited to go to events to network and try out new products, and it's most likely the brand who sent the invite is expecting a tweet while you are there. Heck, there might even be a designated hashtag emailed to you.
However, on the other side of things, if we constantly have our face to the screen, are we missing out on the human social interactions? When does our involvement in our smart phones and social media persona affect our traditional, person-to-person connection?
On the other hand, some social media enthusiasts have gone to extremes to keep their private life public by documenting it through the internet. The WSJ cites the internet savvy couple Caroline Waxler, an independent digital marketing strategist, and Michael Levitt using a dedicated hashtag at their wedding. It's a nice way to organize all of the photos people posted about their special day, however does anyone want to stand at the altar to a crowd of phone cameras? Maybe they do.
If you are unsure of how to incorporate your social media with your social life, here are a few tips to make sure you aren't offending anyone:
1. Keep the phone off the dinner table. Want to take a photo of your insane creme brûlée? Fine. But snap it and put that phone right back in your purse. You can upload and tweet it after dinner.
2. Don't tweet and talk. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to have a conversation with someone and they aren't paying attention. Save your tweeting for when you have an idle moment, like when you're waiting in the bathroom line.
3. Don't use social media as a cop out at events. Sure, you might not know anyone in the room, but hiding behind your smartphone's screen isn't going to benefit you, and you might end up offending whoever is throwing the gathering. Use the uncomfortable situation as an opportunity to meet new friends and network.
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