You’ve Come a Long Way Baby – Gen Y Teaches a Lesson on SM Boundaries

Come a long way baby

I’m the proud parent of a lovely, lively, Gen Y Goddess who is creating her own success in the advertising world. Of course, part of her greatness is because she had such a smart Mama giving her advice along the way. ;>

Baby’s come a long way, and turned the tables back around on me, teaching me a valuable lesson in observing appropriate Social Media boundaries with our offspring.  Just because we were the ones who used to monitor their on line activities as kids, doesn’t mean we get to set the rules arbitrarily now that we’re all adults, because they’re still our kids, right? 

Wrong, and we may make mistakes in interacting with our kids within SM channels if we don’t listen when they set limits of their own. 

We were ‘those’ parents every teen dreaded having.  Geeks.  Couldn’t hide a thing online or on the hard drive from the likes of us, and when she was grounded from the computer as punishment, that meant Dad whipped up a nifty little app that would cut off connectivity to her pc only from 10:00 p.m. nightly until 4:00 p.m. the next day.  All sorts of configuration options, (far better than NetNanny,) would allow us to control the who, what, where and when of her online activities.  Sucked to be her.

We had to make it up as we went along back then, but now there are many great resources writing about Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation for guidance with kids of all ages. Articles like this one offer great advice about managing SM with your kids, but few articles give adequate pointers on engaging with your kids online in a way that won’t embarrass or upset their own goals.  It’s a learning process to work on together.

During the college years, the phone calls were great, but I often learned much more about how courses were going by checking out the latest pub party pics on FaceBook. 😉  Ya, I’m an online Stalker Mom. 

Still considering myself the more SM savvy of we two back then, I’d put on my professional hat and advise, “Nope, nope, nope!  Get those pics offline before you start kicking out resumes at graduation, Kid.  That won’t fly with potential employers.  You know they creep you online before interviews these days, right?”

She’d sigh, and sort of comply.

Through the years we’ve settled in to a comfortable style of communicating in channels like FB and Twitter, until I jumped the shark last week, which caused a genuine tiff between us.  She very politely told me that’d I’d overstepped a boundary by posting some old pictures in an FB album visible only to friends.

I got very huffy and defensive, reminding her that nothing on my FB could rival stuff on hers.  I didn’t get it.  It seemed hypocritical to me. I’ve posted pictures that we’ve laughed about many times, so what’s the big deal? I stayed mad for days, especially about one thing she’d said, “I don’t know your online friends.  They might not even be real for all I know!”

I felt incensed and insulted, until it finally clicked in. While I do know many of her friends personally, she doesn’t know who people in my sphere are, or what they think, or in what context I interact with them.  By posting pictures I wanted to share, I denied her the right of selecting her own audience and controlling her privacy boundaries. And those of now grown friends in those old pictures.

She was right, I was wrong.  (I admitted it in writing, Hun, can you believe that?)

It isn’t enough to just say, “Fine, I just won’t be your FB friend anymore!”

It’s more important to really talk about how we each use our various channels, and who is in them, and why, before deciding what is okay to share, and what makes the other uncomfortable. My friends, contacts, coworkers are mine – not hers.  I don’t get to set the rules of what’s acceptable online anymore.  We have to negotiate it carefully together.  And hopefully, grow, share & laugh along the way.

Baby’s come a long way, and she is a very wise Social Media Maven in her own right.  Thanks for the lesson & the reminder.

I’ll leave all of you other parents with this video to ponder. :d


Twitter Ego Health Check

It's all about... Me!

That’s right – It’s all about ME when it comes to my standards for Twitter ettiquettte in regards to my personal ‘brand’.

I’m an unapologetic anomaly in the Twittersphere – I don’t care if you follow me; I care about being selective about those who I choose to follow. I care more about finding the right people to listen to, than I do about who might listen to me. (Which is 100% opposite of what I practice & preach with a business persona.)

I’ve always been a bit cynical about the subjective value of Twitter popularity ratings for personal branding. I’m not at all ignorant or oblivious of the norms and rules, however, I’m also not ashamed to admit that when it comes to my personal Twitter account -> I’ll set the rules as I see fit. 

It is easy to be fearless and indulge myself in the luxury of writing this for two reasons:

  • Very few will read this and become offended
  • It’s all about me regardless – I don’t mean to offend, but I’m not going to follow you or add you to a list if it doesn’t suit my selfish purpose in the first place.

All of the recent chatter about lists has only further high-lighted the issues I have with accepted Twitter practices. I find most behaviors are as insincere as over-the-counter utterances like, “Have a nice day,” or “Thanks,” when the waiter brings the coffee you ordered 10 minutes ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a Canadian so being excessively polite comes with the culture – I won’t stop thanking hard-working servers anytime soon. On the other hand, I’m also not going to thank you for a ‘thank you’ or for RT’ing something I RT’d from someone else.

My point is that I don’t need or acknowledge platitudes-by-rote. If I RT’d you – in all but a very few cases, I did it for ME, or followers who might benefit. There are several people I follow who I will consistently RT when their content is great in hopes that others will follow them with shared reverence, but I can count those people on one hand.

The rest of the time when I RT, I am not trying to raise YOUR profile (sorry); I share to incite further conversation or thought with people who share a common interest in my passions.  If you get more followers out of it, that’s great, but it isn’t my primary goal. Don’t waste keystrokes to thank me for my selfishness.

Take it for granted that if I bother to share your tweet, self-interest played a part in it – and it very well might not have been your intended reason. More than likely, I did want to put brain-candy out there to chew on, but I might just have easily wanted to incite a riot. 😉

Likewise, I’m not enamoured with random mentions that don’t add to discussion. The people I have come to appreciate the most on Twitter are those who use mentions to engage in conversations.  You know… back & forth communiques that are actual discussions? Mentioning me in an attempt to thank me for something or other is a banal effort that won’t stir my brain.  It isn’t innovative or original. It is just a learned behavior that applies grease to the squeaky wheels of culture. Like saying thanks without looking at the service person you’re thanking.

But, we’re heading into a new cultural period.  Mentions don’t equal acknowledgement of value. Perhaps they’ll carry more weight when applied more judiciously.

I have no desire to make money via Twitter, nor do I use my ‘personal brand’ account in relation to any singular vendor.  Therefore, I’m quite mercenary in how I wish to participate in (use) Twitter. I’m all about connecting with mentors, experts, and big-thinkers who gift me with their thoughts as brain-food & affordable education. It’s all about me, and using the Twitterverse to learn from the best of the best.

 Those that offer consistent constructive value are those I will RT – without ever caring or hoping for a thanks.  (When you’re playing at that level of the game, you really don’t need it, do you? Fandom is irrelevant when you have apt students vs. random followers?)

Which somehow brings me to a clumsy transition to Twitter lists – without a witty segue. 

My Twitter Lists Are All ABout ME. (Deal with it.)

I don’t create my new lists to entice others.  Rather, I am structuring them as a way to categorize people I follow, or who follow me, according to my evolving interests and my own taxonomy.  (Ouch! I know, but just live with it – it is my system and I like it.)

I’m not overly interested in how you might classify me, nor will I be offended or excited by inclusion or exclusion on any list. 

You use Twitter your way.  And I’ll use it mine.


Comments welcome – ruthless critiques are desired.  You might change my mind about ettiquette for personal Twitter accounts, but I doubt it.