Monday, August 20, 2012

Social Media and Polite Society, The Connection You May Have Missed

Social media is a return to a simpler age.

I can see the skepticism on your faces from here, but bear with me. I think you’ll see the connection.

First, I’d like to invite you to remind yourselves of the standards I, and most of you, were taught growing up. We were raised by certain ideas about how to treat others. My mother and grandmother had a name for it—polite society. Here are some of the basics, in case you’ve forgotten: 
  • If someone says something nice about you, thank them.
  • When someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.
  • Always put others before yourself.
  • If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

It was a Do unto others as you would have the do unto you world.

These rules guided my behavior in almost all circumstances. And they made the world I lived in pretty easy to navigate. We all operated from a common basis, and everyone knew what was expected from everyone else.

These same basic rules are once again enjoying a resurgence—on the Internet. Stay with me and consider our interaction on social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter.
  • If someone mentions you (which is a nice thing in this new, platform-building paradigm) you thank them.
  • When others do something nice for you online, like telling people you have a great blog post, you tell your friends about their blogs.
  • To keep from becoming a self-centered sounding boor, promote others online more than yourself. I know it’s counterintuitive, but it works every time. Those who promote others are always more popular and have more friends than those who are self-serving and self-promoting.
  • And most important of all, when almost everything ever said online can still be found somewhere online—NEVER share an update that puts someone else down. 

It’s once again a golden-rule governed world.

When I realized the relationship between how I was raised and this new frontier, I also saw that I have a lot of experience I can share with the younger, sometimes more digitally-familiar generation. And this gave me the confidence to embrace this new culture. Because let’s face it, there truly is nothing new under the sun.

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, The WriteConversation. In keeping up with the leading edge of al things digital, Edie has become known as one of the go-to experts on social media for writers wanting to learn how to plug in. Her first book, Social Media Marketing for Writers took less than a month to move into the best-seller category on Amazon.
As a sought after writing instructor, her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers all over the country. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Edie is also the Social Media Coach for My Book Therapy.
Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home, is Edie’s latest project. This devotional book for those with family members in the military debuted on Veterans Day, 2011.
She’s a member of numerous professional writing organizations, including the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, The Christian Pen, The Christian Writer’s View I and American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s also a regular contributor on, a Writers Digest top 101 websites for writers, as well as a regular columnist in Southern Writers Magazine.
Married 30+ years to her high school sweetheart, Kirk, they have raised three sons.


Lillian Duncan said...

I love this idea! Returning to the old ways.
Another thing--it actually keeps us more in contact with family, friends, and internet friend.It's a new way to visit in our busy, busy world.

HGlick said...

I enjoyed this blog post!

Audra Silva said...

Wonderful post. Love the correlation. :)

Marilyn said...

Thanks, Edie. This post pushed me into taking a second look, and I see the connection. Same message, different tools. No matter how things change, we can still remain who and what we are.


Caroline said...

Always love looking at things in new ways. Thanks for sharing, Edie.

Edie Melson said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. I've found that as I get older, I still have a valuable contribution to make to this rapidly changing world. Blessings, Edie

Patty Wysong said...

Thanks, Edie. This makes it so simple to remember. Twitter and I still go round and round and I never knew when to say to what--even thanks--and it frustrated me to no end. THIS I can remember--it's how I was brought up too. =]

Donna B said...

Well said, Edie, now if only everyone would learn the golden rule...oh, I see, that hasn't changed either!

Anonymous said...

This gives me hope that I can actually DO it, b/c you've re-framed the process, Edie. Thank you immensely.

Gail Kittleson

TNeal said...

You asked for me to stick with you and I did. Your opening line did a great job of raising a question I wanted to see answered. And you did it. You made a great point, one that encourages us old geezers to embrace the new and infuse it with good old common decency. Well done.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Yep. You nailed it, Edie. Thanks!

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