I’m not a fan of drama. It’s a waste of energy and I actively avoid negative activities. But I am a huge fan of manners and etiquette and it makes me very sad and frustrated to see that quite often online, and particularly on Facebook, these are becoming rarer and rarer.
I don’t even want to entertain the thought that people deliberately choose not to have online manners so I’m going to assume some people just don’t realise there’s an etiquette, a way to behave, an acceptable way to treat and be treated. By sharing this blog, perhaps we’ll reach some of those people and help to make Facebook a nicer place?
#1 ‘CC’ Or ‘Constructive Criticism’.
Here the clue is in the name. Constructive. This means that if you offer criticism of an image, you should offer it in a constructive way. Think of it more as offering a way to improve the image.
“This light is way too harsh! Have you used the pop-up flash!?” is a criticism but not a helpful one. Make it your own little rule that your criticism needs to be sandwiched between a nice comment and a helpful one eg: “You have posed this model really well but the light is directed straight at her which is causing unflattering shadows. If you had bounced the flash or even taken the flash off the camera, this image would be lovely”.
Other important points are:
If someone hasn’t asked for cc – never take it upon yourself to give it, that’s just rude. If they wanted your opinion they would have asked.
If you’re going to comment on an image then make a comment about the image. It’s rude to just say ‘where’s that headband from please’. yes, you said ‘please’ but that doesn’t excuse it. This is not cool.
Don’t ask for cc if you can’t take criticism. And don’t get defensive when people give you their opinions.
Bullying isn’t a word I use lightly but in the last week I’ve seen two online examples of this in facebook groups – both threads were deleted before I could chip in to defend the ‘victim’.
People make mistakes and people ask ‘silly’ questions. When it is clear that the gist of all the replies are correcting the original poster or answering their ‘silly’ question, you don’t need to add your opinion. However inflamed or incredulous you feel. This situation can easily make the original poster feel isolated, ridiculed and embarrassed. This is bullying.
#3 Sharing Client Images
Sharing client images is something that gives us great pleasure. Not only do we enjoy reading the reactions of our clients and their friends but we also hope that new clients will be attracted by them. However, we all have clients that request their images not be shared online. Clients have the right to request this and they have the right to privacy. You do not have a right to ignore this request because you pressed the shutter button and own the copyright. There is no such thing as ‘private’ on facebook. Sharing a client image in a group of 2000 people when a client has asked you not to share, is just not acceptable. Even if the group is ‘closed’ or ‘private’. What can you possibly gain from doing this? You only have something to lose, including your integrity.
#4 Sharing Client Conversations
I’m seeing a trend of people taking screen shots of text or message conversations with clients and then sharing those online. With thousands of people. I’m struggling with where to start with this one. It’s wrong and and rude on so many levels but more than that, I question the professionalism of anyone who does this. I completely understand wanting support for issues – how do I reply to this request or what would you do in this situation. I totally get that. What I don’t understand is choosing to share a conversation your client thinks is private. Even if you blur their details.
#5 Sharing Posts From Other Groups
As I’ve already said – nothing on facebook is truly private so the best way to avoid drama in a facebook group is to type out your post and then ask yourself ‘is this appropriate to ask or tell to the same number of strangers that is the number of people in this group’. Then ask yourself how it would affect you if any one of those group members took a screen shot of your post and shared it somewhere else. This is a real possibility. If this makes you uncomfortable, don’t post it. The flip side of this is it is rarely a good idea to take screen shots in one group and share them in another. Just ask yourself – does this make you look like an upstanding and trustworthy member of either of the communities? My single exception to this rule is if I saw something that was damaging to my business, I would share it with my business partner privately.
So let’s all try and make the interweb – and facebook – a much nicer place. The less drama there is, the more work we can do, and the more money we can earn and free time we can have. Win win!