How to Play Nice in The Social Media Sandbox

Photo Source: Twenty20

I spend a lot of my free time at the playground with my 3-year-old daughter. Yesterday, as I watched the kids playing together, it hit me—social media is like a giant sandbox!

Do you remember the rules of the sandbox as a kid? Take turns, share, make new friends, help others. Sure, sometimes you want to throw sand but you know if you do, you’ll wind up with a timeout or playing by yourself.

I’m very good at playing in the social media sandbox so today I want to share five not-very-nice things I see happening there and how they can negatively affect your #actorslife.

Throwing sand is not OK.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions on social; stop picking fights with everyone who doesn’t agree with yours. That approach doesn’t work on the playground and definitely doesn’t work on social media. If you want to join conversations about controversial subjects, talk about what you support instead of what you’re against.

Hugging a kid you’ve just met on the playground is kinda awkward.
Asking for a favor from someone you’ve just met on social media is too much. It doesn’t work and can be super awkward. Get to know people on social (and in the sandbox) before you ask for anything. Building relationships can unlock opportunity for your career but remember: opportunity follows relationship, not the other way around.

READ: How to Become Instagram Famous

Don’t take other people’s toys without asking.
Before you share images or videos as your own, give credit where credit is due. Never use other people’s content without asking or celebrating them.

Sharing toys with others helps you make friends.
Are you the new kid in the sandbox? Share other people’s content and follow them and you just might make a new connection.

It’s not nice to tell people they can’t play with you.
Lots of actors hit the ‘BLOCK’ button on Twitter way too quickly. I’m not talking about blocking accounts that are obviously spam or are sharing inappropriate content. THAT is totally cool. I’m talking about blocking someone you've worked with because you don’t like something they tweeted or because they unfollowed you.

If you don’t want to see their posts on Twitter, mute them. Why is this important? That actor you worked with could suggest you for another project. When that day comes, they’ll click over to your Twitter page and see they’ve been blocked. Oops...there goes that job! Think before you banish anyone in the business from your sandbox.

Now that you know the rules, you need a social strategy for your acting career. My ebook, “The Ultimate Social Media Guide for Actors,” will put you on the path to #SocialSuccess! Download your free copy today. See you in the sandbox!

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Heidi Dean
Heidi Dean is the industry’s top social media expert for actors. She was a working professional actor for over 20 years and a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Now she combines her years of industry experience with cutting-edge social media strategy to help actors open more doors for their careers.