No rules in Social Media? I wish.

Sam Wilson wonders about the rules of social networking.

Wow, we’ve had a great week. As you’ll remember, we’ve kicked off Women24’s 10th Birthday celebrations... and it has been chaos this end ever since. Hurrah!

Boy, you folk sure can write in. By gum.

We’ve already had lots of winners, and made lots of reader stories from your comments (check out Top 10 Romantic Quotes, 10 Indispensible Clothing Items, and Top 10 Reader Letters and all our other wonderful Top 10s), but what has really tickled me have been the responses to our question: ‘What makes you unfollow people on Twitter?’

Alarming numbers of people (well, alarming to me anyway) respond with ‘If someone unfollows me or doesn’t follow me back.’ I find that so interesting... since when did someone not finding you interesting make THEM less interesting?

But it seems to be emerging as a common ‘Twitter rule’, and we know how the world loves a rule. 

What’s with all the rules, people?

I personally don’t believe much in sets of rules: I think the best way to keep people nice and not hurting each other is to teach them to find and follow their own consciences, not by presenting some pre-determined list you can learn by rote. Call me a dreamer... but it’s not as if the rules are working very well anyway, are they?

And I had hoped that with the fabulous anarchic nature of the interwebs, rules would become less important, at least in the ether. But no.

Take Foursquare, for example. While I find it dreadfully boring to be told each time someone went to their local Spar, I did seriously enjoy inventing places for other people to find... like ‘Where Andreas Parks His Car Religiously Every Day’ on Strand St or ‘The Spot I first got Properly Kissed’ in PE. (Thanks Hector Elliott!) But Foursquare has cracked down on that, because it’s ‘abusing the service’.

Pooh, she said, and deleted her Foursquare app.

I realise I am unusual in this. (I know, because the words ‘self indulgent’ and ‘weirdo’ come up a lot in discussion with friends on this point.)

But I’d love to hear your take on the necessity of rules. Do you, like me, think we are spending too much time defining and refining rules and not enough relishing creativity and teaching personal respect? Or do you think rules are great and just not well enforced enough? Or somewhere in between?


- Women24

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