The 10 Commandments of bearing and being a Social Network

ten_commandments_chaney_lgI’ve spent A LOT of time on social networks. Probably much more time on forums (which I also consider SNs) than with blogs and the normal SN communities. It isn’t easy to create a successful community that is free and without pretense. And, with doing the time, comes some insider knowledge – some wisdom that everybody that’s done time garners.

Here, I will share in 5 posts, the notes of my mind, the crumbs and scratchings and conclusions I’ve arrived at through “doing time”. See numbers 1 and 2. Let’s go!


All Content follows the member who created/added it.

Social Networks are built of the work, thoughts, ideas, additions, videos, musings, mumblings, blogs, tweets and blatherings of EACH MEMBER. They are communal and if a member packs up house or gets a “go to jail card” – their contributions should go with them. It is not owned by the site. I don’t know how often I’ve seen SN creators get in a dispute with a member and then ban them, yet keep their contribution! This is theft, it truly is. I remember one network even ask me to buy their network (I’d put up about 60% of the content) or else he’d send all my work to hell by deleting the network! There is one large social network, Dave’s ESL Cafe which I loath for the fact they ban members who’ve helped by posting thousands of times – never for a moment recognizing their hard work. I seldom post there anymore (and for other reasons, I’ll post in commandment 9).

I’ve set up our community so that if a member so chooses to leave or if there is some kind of disagreement, their content is deleted across the community. This is fair, this is the law.


Privacy is paramount and must be actively protected AND  transparent.

Facebook learned this the hard way. But it is paramount that all social networks have strong and user friendly privacy settings. IMHO, Facebook still fails and breaks this commandment. Their privacy settings are not simple and you’ll need a special diploma to manage them.

But more than just having strong privacy settings, a network should ACTIVELY promote them and make members aware of them. It isn’t always easy but I try to do this. Making members aware that my newsletter has an unsubscribe link at the bottom is my next one. A network should include mention of tutorials on how to use settings and turn off/delete. This is important. We have them, why doesn’t FB?


It’s about the people, stupid!

Never participate in a SN which does not have people with a face, people who care, people who contact you behind the electronic curtain. You put a lot of trust in things when you post and share and form relationships online. You need to know there is a “real” person behind the scenes who is involved and responsible.(not like Dave’s cafe – he hasn’t been there for years). I try to be on EFL Classroom and greet as many people as I can. Mostly, so they know it isn’t a business or con or will be deleted – no, they know it is personal, lasting and with soul.

I’ve seen too many networks that don’t have this. Too many that are soulless, just thousands of people (like FB) but without a person there, looking after things. My advice, keep people in the fore and keep it personal! Show who you are.

Stay tuned for the last 5 SN commandments! (ps. note this was cross blog posted using ?Livewriter? ? I?ll be sharing about that soon).

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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