social media sandbox

I spend a lot of my free time at the playground with my 5 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 and help others. Sure, sometimes you want to throw sand, but you know, if you do, you’ll wind up with a timeout or playing all by yourself.

Now, I’ll admit, I’m very good at playing in the social media sandbox. So, today, I want to share 5 things I see happening there, that are not very nice, 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 your opinions on Twitter. 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 (like politics), 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. It doesn’t work and can be super awkward. Get to know people on social (and in the sandbox) before you ever ask for anything. Building relationships can unlock opportunity for your career but remember opportunity follows relationship, not the other way around.

*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, don’t ‘block’ them. Why is this important? That actor you worked with on your last project could suggest you for another project. When that day comes, they’ll click over to your Twitter page and see they’ve been blocked like this:

don't block people

Oops...there goes that job! So think before you banish anyone in the business from your sandbox.

Breaking some of these rules? Don’t sweat it. Once you learn the rules of the sandbox they’re super easy to follow.

My mom is an expert on playing with others. She taught first grade in the public schools for 39 years. Every morning her class would stand and recite in unison “Remember, what you put out comes back to you!” That’s terrific advice online and off.

See you in the sandbox!

Heidi Dean

Now that you know the rules, now you need some social strategy for your career. I've got you covered with my 21-Day Social Rockstar Challenge for actors....