Thursday, February 23, 2012

Social Media Is The New Small Town (Tarleton Tip Thursday #6)

Welcome back to Tarleton Tip Thursdays, where every week we give you tips to help you harness the power of social media.  Cathy Wilterding, a Tarleton State University librarian who is also an alumnus and a native of Granbury, Texas, recently shared with TSMRI how some of the guidelines she grew up with for living in a small town also apply to social media.
This image was used with permission from the Cross Timbers Historical Images Project.
  • Be careful of the company you keep. In Facebook and Google+, you can corral your contacts with lists and circles, but don’t allow anyone in your social media circle that you wouldn’t want in your “real” circle.
  •  Mind your manners. Once you say it, you can’t take it back. Yes, you can delete posts and clean up your social media presence, but you may have already affected a relationship.
  • Don’t gossip. People love to pass on info. News travels fast…especially bad and revealing news. What used to be a phone call to parents/bosses from a neighbor or fodder for school hallways is now more quickly spread through tweets, Facebook and blog posts, and emails – often with pictures.
  • Don’t expose your dirty laundry. Some things do NOT need to be cataloged in social media.  When in doubt, don’t.
  • Don’t accidentally leave your diary out where others can read it. And don’t leave your social media accounts open on a shared computer! New entries might appear.
With Facebook’s Timeline rolling out, we urge you to remember some of those small-town sayings and manage your online reputation. Don’t let it manage you and your future.

Dr. Maben is a communication professor at Tarleton State University, and a co-director of the Texas Social Media Research Institute.

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