Enter to win every day in CTNOW's 21 Days of Summer Giveaways. Click here to see today's prize.
Family Fun
Family Fun

With great social media power comes great responsibility

Before social media went online and became mainstream, complaining about bad service at a restaurant or store was usually started with six words.

"May I speak to your manager?"

Unless you were screaming at some employee, it was usually pretty low key.

Then, after we took to Twitter to make our voices heard, those six words to one or two people turned into 140 characters to potentially millions. Simply put, social media increases the power of our voice and changes the customer service game.

But just because you can potentially reach millions with your gripe doesn't mean you should. Responsible social media starts with thinking about what you tweet, before you tweet it.

I had a confusing experience at a restaurant recently. A few minutes after finishing dessert, a manager came over and asked if we'd accept a round of drinks in exchange for moving to the bar because they needed to free up the table. We politely declined because we were getting ready to leave anyway.

Without outing the restaurant or anything about it, I asked my social media followers on Twitter if they agreed with such a request. I received a few direct messages asking me to tell them the name of the restaurant in confidence, but I politely declined.

I was curious enough to take the topic to Twitter, but there was no reason to embarrass anyone. So how do you get your point across without looking like a huge jerk? Here are some suggestions and points to ponder:

Constructive criticism is good, name calling is not. Some people aren't good at keeping things bottled up. If you must out a business in a complaint on social media, be careful not to insult. Be constructive and keep the conversation going. You wouldn't scream at a manager on the phone, would you? Don't scream online.

Don't let anger get the best of you. If you jump on Twitter the minute something bad happens, you're more likely to say something you'll regret. Your words matter. Whether you have 100 followers or 100,000, you never know when something you tweet or share will be shared by someone more influential. Before you tweet, take a deep breath and assess the situation.

Use social media, then take the exchange offline. There's nothing wrong with using social media to find a store or restaurant manager and then making a phone call. Do you really need to battle this out in public? Are you gaining anything by having an audience? Probably not.

When in doubt, ask yourself this: How would I react if social media didn't exist? If your answer is "with restraint," then apply that to your usage of social media.

So Social is a social media tips column by The Tribune Media Group's Amy Guth and Scott Kleinberg. Tweet them at @amyguth and @scottkleinberg.

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
Related Content
  • Giant Slide The City Slipping Into Hartford

    Giant Slide The City Slipping Into Hartford

    More than 3,500 people will relive a little bit of their childhoods on a giant scale as they slip and slide for 1,000 feet down Trinity Street in Hartford when Slide the City comes to town Saturday, Aug. 22.

  • A Madison Daycation: A Beach, A Bookstore, A Beautiful Hotel

    A Madison Daycation: A Beach, A Bookstore, A Beautiful Hotel

    Downtown Madison, Connecticut, has the feel of a beach town, though the beach itself is nearly 2 miles away. In addition to shops and restaurants, the town has one of the best independent bookstores in the state and a century-old independent movie theater.

  • Caribbean and Jerk Fest Returns To The Riverfront

    Jamaican reggae artist Luciano, Barbadian jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman, the music and dance troop Iroko Nuevo and other Caribbean-style performers head to Mortensen Riverfront Plaza on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 1 to 11 p.m. for the 10th annual Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival.

  • 10 Tips For The Best Summer Runs

    10 Tips For The Best Summer Runs

    Summer is a great time for running in Connecticut — outside of the heat and humidity, the swarms of mosquitoes and flies and the crowds trying to enjoy this short-lived season of sunshine. Besides that, it's great getting a chance to lay down the ear warmers and unearth those tank tops. But once...

  • Sounds Of Mexico Come To Old State House Farmer's Market

    Sounds Of Mexico Come To Old State House Farmer's Market

    The sounds of Mexico, along with dancing, hand-clapping and maraca-shaking, come to the Old State House Farmers Market. Fiesta del Norte, Connecticut's first mariachi band, performs on Friday, July 31, at noon at Connecticut's Old State House, 800 Main St., Hartford.

  • Sunflower Maze Returns To Lyman Orchards

    Sunflower Maze Returns To Lyman Orchards

    Dinosaurs return to the fields of Lyman Orchards in Middlefield when its annual sunflower maze opens Saturday, Aug. 1. This year's maze, approximately three acres, is shaped like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.