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Social media etiquette in digital times

1) When you are in a meeting, an important lunch, in church or even with your
doctor for a critical check-up, switch your phone to silent for ALL alerts
(messaging, calls, alerts, alarms) etc. If you are waiting for an important phone
call, forward this to a reliable person, a PA or your voicemail and indicate when
you are next available. Better yet, send the person an important e-mail and SMS
that you are caught up in a meeting and cannot attend to the phone. Call them
back right after the meeting ends.

When dining with family or friends, please “park your phones” and be present
at the table for the meal. That means, only check the phone when going to the
restrooms (toilets). A friend of mine has suggested to place all phones on the
table and the first one to “check messages on their phone” pays the bill.

When attending seminars, trainings and even webinars, resist the temptation
to answer messages and check updates on various social media channels. If you
are suppose to Tweet your takeaways as the sessions unfold, make sure this is
clear with the speaker and the seminar organizer.

    4) Though it is easier to “send instant messages” to deal with
    issues and address concerns, try doing a face-to-face meeting
    or pick up the phone whenever it is possible and feasible to
    have real conversations and dialogues instead of virtual ones.
    This will help you NOT lose touch with understanding the
    nuances of body language as well as seeing the reality of the
    conversation instead of just the digital version.

    5) Before you go into a job interview, whether as the
    interviewer or the applicant, turn off the phone as a simple sign
    of respect and be present and concentrate in the meeting. Put
    the phone in your pocket or purse NOT on the table. There is a
    tendency to glance and look at the device when it is on the

At special formal dinners and events, with royalty, dignitaries and other
heads of state, the protocol is to check your phone only when you are in the
restroom (toilet) or when breaking for cigars and cognac or port at the end of the

Clarify with the host of the event or party if you are allowed to post it on
social media specially if the event is private and by invitation only. Even for the
usual birthday parties, weddings, baptisms or funerals, there might be issues with
posting photos without the explicit permission of the host. Be sensitive and just
ask if posting photos or tweets will be alright.

8) I
f and when you are recording a scene of an accident or an actual crime in
progress, please be careful and try not to endanger yourself or others to get the
“scoop”. Be aware that there usually more than two sides to every perspective so
be careful how you “frame the truth” in what you capture on your device. Also,
make a copy of the original file before presenting this to the relevant local
authorities. That way, you have a digital footprint of the original file and any
changes to the file can be traced and compared with the original recording.

Think carefully before you post comments or videos that may have an effect
on your image and reputation or the company you represent.

Remember that the digital platform is a great channel but this should not
replace the opportunity for human contact and real conversations and dialogues
to occur. Humanity thrives because we belong to each other and we need one
another to grow and flourish.
Clarify with the host
of the event or
party if you are
allowed to post it
on social media
specially if the
event is private
and by invitation
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