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Are You Networking By The Rules?

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by RachaelO

In the current social media revolution, it’s getting much easier to be kicked out of social media networking if you neglect the rules. At present, two of my favorite social media crimes are “SEO spammer and Link Dropper. ” You get caught for this if you crawl social media sites most especially forums for the sole purpose of dropping links to your website or blog in the hope of diverting some traffic to it.

In essence, this article is basically about the social media networking rules of two of the most popular social media platforms -- Facebook and Twitter -- and most importantly how to protect your online reputation in cyberspace.

The Spam Rules of Twitter

As I don’t like unnecessary words, I’m a great fan of Twitter’s 140 characters. The brevity of Twitter is quite captivating-- as such, it’s easy to get carried away and be guilty of tweeting outside the rules and earn a permanent suspension for multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter Rules.

In its Twitter Rules section, Twitter lists the crimes for which you could earn a suspension. For instance, “creating serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes, or with overlapping use cases may result in suspension of all related accounts. ”

With regards to spamming, we have all probably been guilty at one point or the other of what Twitter considers spamming i. e. following a large amount of users in a short time, following and unfollowing people in a short time (particularly by automated means), repeatedly following and unfollowing people to gain attention for your profile as well as having a smaller amount of followers compared to the number of people following you. The next time you are on Twitter, make sure you stay within the guidelines.

The Spam Rules of Facebook

Even though I refuse to consider myself a Facebook addict, I admit I am on it quite often. Most especially as I manage multiple Facebook accounts for work and business purposes. Some will recall (and it’s nothing to be ashamed of) that they have at one time or the other been blocked and unable to send friend requests and put up posts in groups. After looking through the Facebook Help Centre, here are the crimes for which you can be blocked.

To protect all its users, “Facebook has policies to stop behavior that other users may find annoying or abusive. ” The penalty for this is a Block.  “A block is set when Facebook systems determine that the user was adding friends or using a feature repeatedly in a short period of time after being warned to slow down. ” While your account is blocked by Facebook, “you will still be able to log on to Facebook, but you will not be able to add friends, post, or use another feature temporarily. ”

Facebook can also block a user from sending messages and this will happen “if you have sent a high volume of messages recently or Facebook members have reported your contact as unwelcome. ” When you have been blocked, to prevent additional limits being placed on your account, “only send friend requests and messages to people who you already know personally. ”

Regarding the sending of friend requests, a user can be blocked from doing this “because friend requests you’ve sent have gone unanswered or members reported your contact as unwelcome. ” Facebook blocks however only last a few hours to a few days.

Facebook can disable an account for reasons, which include impersonation, unsolicited contact with others, use of a fake name or posting content that violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities i. e. obscene, photographic or sexually explicit photos and photos depicting graphic violence.

You in cyber space

If you use social networking sites, you have a reputation to protect because you are your own brand. Jamie Gavin, head of inPress Online, in his article What Broadway Actors could learn from social media explains that “Whether you are a brand trying to gain recognition or an actor trying to make it big on Broadway, there are five key words to remember: “You’ve got to be seen!”

Being seen however does not permit coming across as a nuisance. Jamie advises, “become part of the conversation, develop brand awareness, offer engaging content, and of course become useful to consumers. These are the steps that -- over time -- will build the path towards playing a Prospero at the Haymarket, or at the very least catapult you up the social media rankings. ”

On a signing off note, social networking sites have a duty to keep everyone safe by enforcing social networking rules and even in cyber space ignorance of the law is no excuse.

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