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Does Social Media Have Rules?

People and businesses look at social media as a means to an end.  Everyone has a different end but the final outcomes most people and businesses seek is a result.

Results come in many different forms. Some seek immediate sales and push their messages out to the masses hoping to catch the proverbial 1-3% into a transaction. Others seek opportunities and hunt for the newest MLM scheme. While many simply seek to learn about the power of social media and collaborate with the crowds in a collective learning environment.

There are many other categories of end results people seek.  For the most part the landscape is much like the wild wild west where people discovered new territory, new opportunity and new communities filled with different offerings.  Like the wild wild west of the past this new digital territory is governed by self made “rules” by each community that sometimes if not all of the time conflict with other community interest and self made or assumed rules.

I Can, I Can’t, I’ll Try, I Will

Rules are  as  a statement that defines or constrains some aspect of the boundaries by which people interact. It is intended to assert  structure or to control or influence the behavior of people, collectively and individually.  Collective and individual rules describe the operations, definitions and constraints that apply to the organization of people seeking to achieve common goals.

Rules are spoken and unspoken. In society and in organizations there are written rules then there are assumed rules. Assumed rules rely on human nature to understand what is decent, acceptable and normal behavior between and amongst other individuals. Rules get legislated, enacted, written and enforced when an organization or society at large deem it necessary to formalize said rules for the benefit of the many or the few. When assumed rules are not evident by the behavior of people then governing bodies deem it necessary to make an assumed rule as a formal written rule.

Rules spoken and unspoken provide people with boundaries to determine what they can or can’t do. What people try to do sometimes creates a reaction which determines whether what they are trying to do goes against either the spoken or unspoken rules of a community.  The entire legal system is fueled by the development and enforcement of written rules locally, nationally and globally.

Are There Rules Within Social Media?

Social Media relies on mainly unspoken rules. When people and brands “push” their message with the aim of trapping people the result is mostly a rejection. When people push out pornography or scams and schemes aimed at tricking an audience the unspoken rule is “unfollow“. The primary rules that lie within social media are unspoken but understood by people whom seek value rather than volume.  The written rules of social media rest in the hearts and minds of people who have rejected mass media and are now rejecting anti-social media.  So to answer the question as to “are there rules within social media” the answer is yes.  The rules of respectable and decent human interaction and in formation of relationships have been and will always be what lies in the hearts and minds of decent people.

If people, brands and institutions want to maximize the value of social media then the rules are be human and add value that creates lasting relationships. There is an old rule that captures these rules. What you wish others to do you should also do unto them. Get it?

What say you?

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