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I was networking a few weeks ago in Downtown San Diego. Hours into the event, I stumbled upon and individual, shook hands, and immediately began to introduce ourselves. Suddenly, we found ourselves talking about social media since I mentioned to be in the web design, graphic design, and SEO field.

He stroke me as a well-mannered, smart person yet a few minutes into the conversation he admitted that he “…was just not good with this new social media trend; that he needed to catch up,” or something in those lines. It was that moment when I suddenly had an epiphany, I could not believe even I had not thought of it before.

It is quite simple: social media isn’t really anything new, what’s new is the platforms and how each one operates. As Google’s dictionary puts it, “social” is “of or relating to society or its organization.” Unless you are in the middle of the Amazonian jungle, alone, you are part of a society or its organization—since birth. You know what to do, how to interact with people, how to relate with others, how to communicate. The exact same concept or social rules apply to social media, you just need to learn how to use platform a, b, and/or c and not the other way around.

Let’s say you get a call from a potential client or a friend. You answer the call, a polite and/or quick greeting (depending on the person you are talking to) is stated and then the conversation begins. At the end farewell wishes or a simple “good bye, be well” sentence is said as to let the other person know you cared about their time, what they had to share with you, and/or for many other reasons. Simple, it is engraved in ourselves because we are innately social.

The exact same exact concept is what you need to practice online, you already know how to interact with others in a civilized way. The issue is that we treat online interactions as if they were text and/or images on a screen instead of coming from a real human being—in most cases, that is. Worse yet, we treat them many times as lifeless posters on a desolated highway.

As long as we understand that we are not dealing with robots from outer space—and that we just need to learn how to use social media platforms’ rules to interact with others, suddenly it should all begin to make sense.

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