These days it seems ‘de rigueur’ to work according to a set of Principles. I blame GDS :)
At work I have outsourced the heavy lifting to Aviation House and just follow these https://www.gov.uk/designprinciples but I’ve been thinking a bit about my own, personal principles when it comes to this blog and particularly social media. Especially since my recent talk at #somesw and also some stuff I contributed to a Twitter conversation on social media.
So here are mine;
1. Be myself.
I follow the ‘whole person’ attitude to social media. I don’t have separate work and personal accounts. Like Popeye once said “I yam what I yam.” I’m not saying this is for everyone but it is my approach. My voice online is pretty much my voice full stop (Bristolian accent and all.)
2. Be honest.
While I do self-censor myself to some extent – I am a professional after all – I do try and have my online presence honestly reflect my state of mind. That said while I am honest and open I do not share everything. I try to be honest about that as well :)
3. Be helpful.
Nothing has been more helpful to my career than this blog and Twitter. The amount of support and assistance I have got over the years is immeasurable and as such I try to give back at least a tiny portion of what I have received.
4. Practice the equivalent of the ‘law of two feet’
The ‘law of two feet’ is a guiding principle for ‘open space’ or ‘bar camp’ events. It basically says;
“If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.”
Online I take this to mean if I don’t follow accounts, read blogs or contribute to communities once I am no longer enjoying the experience. I choose my online experience.
5. Don’t engage trolls.
This is, luckily, not something I have to deal with that often. Certainly not on a personal level. That said my rule is simple and based on my Jay-Z guide;
“A wise man told me don’t argue with fools
Cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who.”
6. Don’t sweat the numbers. It is quality not quantity.
Worst thing about Twitter is the follower/following counters. Actually scrub that that worst thing is those services that tell you when you get unfollowed. I read somewhere the phrase “not all followers are created equal”. That is the key – smaller numbers but more engagement – that is my goal.
7. Mistakes happen. Admit them. Move on.
Posted from the wrong account? Published something earlier than scheduled? Embarrassing typo in title? Messed up a DM so the world can see? Me too. Oh well. It isn’t heart surgery.
8. Share and share alike.
Link to at least as much of other peoples content as your own. I fail at this on Google+ horribly. It is far too easy to become very narcissistic online and this is part of number 3.
9. Don’t cross the streams.
My Twitter and Facebook communities are very different for the most part. Anything I write here is unlikely to be of interest to any more than one or two people over on Fb whereas at least a few more on Twitter seem to regular read things here. Stuff I’ve started to write on Medium seems to appeal to both groups. I know this is a bit of a cop-out from my ‘whole person’ approach from (2) but I can live with it :)
10. Have fun.
I do this stuff for a living as well but if it starts to always feel like a job and that is the only way it becomes tenable to engage? That will be the end of it for me. Maybe I’ll spend more time on G+ as at least nobody would see it over there.