As willing as we are to be transparent (those of us who put our lives out online, anyway), we do need to be careful about choosing where we share, and the voice we use to do so. This isn’t just about context, though it could well be – Jon Udell has a concise way of summing up the need for context – but tone, manner. Digital body language at its best.
You don’t develop any social language overnight, and most of it’s impossible to predetermine. As Liz Strauss said on a recent interview with Mitch Joel for the Six Pixels of Separation podcast, there’s a big gap between the actions of an out-of-college enthusiast and a dyed in the wool professional. It’s all well and good to be a digital native who can carry on a phone conversation while texting at five tweets a minute and using acronyms like RSS, CSS, PHP and Social Media. Wait, the last one was a buzzword. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
This applies to more than just business, it applies to any conversation, venue, network or clique we manage to get ourselves involved in. Sometimes you can recognize when you’re acting differently, or when others are. What’s more difficult is figuring out what informed these people with visibly “better” manners to behave this way in the first place.
Over the next few months, I’m going to try and figure out what habits work best, make sure you piss off the least number of people, and make communicating in some of these channels more effective, efficient and enriching. As much as we’d love to believe “Just Act Human” is a great call to action, it’s just not that simple. I’ve had trouble; I’m betting you have too.
So let’s figure this out together, ok?
Photo by kevindooley