I’ve been chipping away at a funny book, The Art of Manliness. The book is more about the classical skills and manners of men and how to include those in a modern life; however, one section Modern Technology and the New Rules of Etiquette struck a chord with me and seemed relevant to our business and industry. The authors, Brett and Kate McKay go on to describe how to remain a gentleman in certain online interactions, such as blogs and forums, email and Facebook. I have taken some of this advice and included it here, where it can help your online presence be more sincere and gentleman-like.

Rules for Blogs and Forums

A great way to increase your web presence and credibility is to participate in online discussions dealing with your business or industry. You can begin to establish yourself as an expert and as someone passionate about the industry, ideal characteristics for any business person. The following are some guidelines to follow to ensure you aren’t seen in a negative light:

  1. Never say something to a stranger on the internet that you wouldn’t say to a stranger in person. Never write something you would not be proud to have your name attached to. Before clicking submit ask yourself “Would I use these words if this person were standing in front of me?”
  2. Don’t attack people personally. Blogs and forums are great venues for the exchange of ideas. If you don’t agree with someone don’t call them an idiot. Doing so will only prove that you have nothing insightful or intelligent to offer.
  3. Don’t just tear things down. Cynicism is easy. Don’t just poke holes in other peoples theories, but engage in a conversation or offer constructive criticism. If you don’t have something substantial to add to the conversation it is best to not to say anything at all.
  4. Don’t use excessive vulgarity. This is another indication that you have nothing meaningful to add and that you are immature. No value is added by using vulgarity.

Rules for Facebook

Many businesses are creating pages or groups on Facebook as a means to cache in on the whole social media buzz. Much of the following is true for any social media tool likeTwitter or LinkedIn.

  1. Keep photos of yourself to a minimum. Business may want to add photos from a recent event, which is great. They provide a sense of the personalities and the atmosphere in the office. Don’t; however, post photos of poor behaviour at a Christmas party or excessive photos of yourself. That will only prove your vanity.
  2. Join Facebook groups with discretion. The groups you join say a lot about you, so join with discretion.
  3. Respond to people’s Facebook wall post and messages. Try to respond to people within 24 hours, responsiveness is a good trait to establish for yourself and your business.

Though these aren’t hard set rules, they are general guidelines to ensure interactions and conversations you have online will present you and your business in a positive light.