Revisiting 10 Golden Rules of Social Media

As 2010 opens its doors, I wanted to take another look at my Golden Rules of Social Media, published back in May of 2009, to see if I could consolidate those rules into five actions we can take to work better in — and through — social media in the coming year.

Here is the original list of ten social media rules to live and work by:

  1. Respect the Spirit of the ‘Net.
  2. Listen.
  3. Add Value.
  4. Respond.
  5. Do Good Things.
  6. Share the Wealth.
  7. Give Kudos.
  8. Don’t Spam.
  9. Be Real.
  10. Collaborate.

5 Things to Do Within Social Media in 2010

Here is how I’d consolidate those rules to the fundamental ideas about how we should be using social media tools and platforms in 2010:

  1. Listen. The best way to start your foray in social networks and other social media platforms is to listen. Listen to the conversations already happening around you before you jump in to join them. Listen to the ebb and flow. Listen to the rhythm of discourse. Listen to the stream to make sure you understand — and respect — what is already taking place. You will surely misstep if you do not listen.
  2. Add Value. The term “value” is subjective, but once you have truly listened, you will be able to discern with relative certainty what is valuable to any given conversation or community. Can you add value to the conversation, not just an empty voice? Can you be a resource? A supporter? A cheerleader? An organizer? What is your social media value proposition?
  3. Respond. If you are listening, you will hear when someone says something that begs your attention. You will hear when someone references you. You now have a door to enter the conversation. And if you’ve listened thoughtfully and have something valuable to share, your participation will be welcome.
  4. Do Good Things. At this point in our lives, we should all know right from wrong. We should all want to do the right thing. We know that spamming is wrong — it is invasive, thoughtless, worthless, and a surefire way to mucking up a potential conversation. We know that scamming is wrong. We know that being honest is good and the right thing to be. We know that helping others and being generous is good, too.
  5. Be Real. Be yourself. Even if you are representing a company or brand and are using the “voice of the company” or “voice of the brand,” you can still be human. Yes there is a time and place for automating a message, but learn when that’s appropriate. Be present. Be there. If you — or a real person who is paying attention and cares — cannot be there, don’t bother with social media. Remember that people are on the receiving end of everything you put out in more intimate ways than ever before. Don’t abuse that privilege when they let you into their feeds and streams.

What is the most powerful social media lesson you’ve learned in 2009 that can be good advice to others?

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