Don't Feed the Animals

When you ask some people why they haven’t joined Twitter yet, they’ll oftentimes say that they don’t want to share every mundane moment of their lives with the rest of the online world. They either feel that their lives are not interesting enough to be shared or that they want to maintain a certain level of privacy. Whatever the case, these people have to realize one or both of two things.

First, you only share the things that you want to share. If you don’t want to tweet about what you had for dinner, you don’t have to do that. Second, whether you share these things or not, there is a distinct possibility that one of your more social media-savvy friends may be sharing them on your behalf. I know this is the case with my brother. He’s not on Facebook, but many of his friends have posted several pictures of him on the popular social networking site.

Keep Your Social Media-ing to Yourself

I’d say that I’m pretty heavily plugged into the matrix. I maintain this blog, I tweet quite often, I upload things to Facebook, I upload videos to YouTube, and so forth. It’s really not that hard to find me online. At the same time, I understand that some of my friends don’t want to be quite so public with their lives and I choose to respect those wishes. This is perhaps one of the most important social media boundaries that you need to set. If you don’t, these friends may quickly cease being your friends.

For instance, I was over at my friend’s place yesterday. I sent out a couple of tweets and TwitPics during that time, but I did not include my friends’ names or likenesses. I did mention that I was walking her dog and I took a picture of the takoyaki that we ate, but I kept my friends largely out of my social media experience. Not everyone wants to be hyper-connected and highly publicized.

Don’t Live Life Through Twitter

When I’m hanging out with people from the Dot Com Crew, like Stephen Fung, we all have the understanding that we all like to share our lives through Twitter and other social networking means. If you watched the most recent episode of Dot Com Pho, you’ll notice that everyone was on their cell phones, tapping away and doing something most of the time. We’re like that, because we’re all socially connected and we all love technology.

However, when I am with “normal” people who aren’t so inclined, I try to keep my tweeting (and so on) to a minimum. Many people feel that it is disrespectful to bring out your cell phone during a formal (or even a casual) meal. This is because you are showing that the things displayed on your phone are more important than the company that you have in front of you. I can appreciate that. You should cherish each and every moment, particularly when it comes to meaningful real-world encounters.

Life isn’t lived through online media. Twitter, Facebook, blogging… these are all useful tools, but you should live a first life first. Have you set your social media boundaries? What’s fair game? What’s off-limits?