If youíre anything close to who I am, the personal and professional realities intermingle in the social media universe. By now, the majority of us are used to living our lives online. But there are a few who forget the details when communicating on the net.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, donít forget the rules of real life. Youíre still communicating with people. Something an old friend told me when I asked was I should do in a certain situation was ďwhatever youíre OK with reading on Facebook.Ē Remember this when it comes to Google caching: Knowledge never dies. Once itís out there, thatís it, forever and ever, amen.

Provide Value
Before you say something publicly, think to yourself ďIs this appropriate? Is it helpful?Ē If you have a hard time with a yes to one of those, think some more about your behavior. It doesnít matter if its business or pleasure, you donít want to harp on or annoy people. This doesnít mean you have to be smooth all the time. Itís about analyzing yourself. You have to share because people will see something greater out of what you have to say, not because you have some ulterior motive or marketing tactic.

Watch before you talk
Make sure that what you believe to be is a valuable business tool is in reality is a time-sapping distraction. Twitter might be essential to you and your business, but others will see it in another way. If you like to talk over IM, but you realize a client always asks to email them instead, theyíre probably not OK with your preferred medium. Clients whose Facebook profile is filled with personal, entertaining, and inside-jokes from their social network uses it as a getaway from work and will be annoyed if you try to talk business with them.

Reflect before you criticize
Twitter is a great way to grab some attention for your company or make them realize how bad of an experience it is. But donít turn your feed into a compilation of negativity. If youíre going to say something bad, wait at least a day and donít make any impulse or unfair judgments. If youíre in doubt, keep it in your thought cloud.

Watch how you react to criticism
Youíre going to be the subject of harsh criticism, probably from people who donít think about their own reactions. Donít fall prey to their anger or hostility. If their criticism is something that can help others in the process, itís alright to reply in a fashionable manner. If not, try to talk about the problem in a direct way. Assuming the critic has any merit at all or at the very least comes from a position to solve the problem at hand. Just ignore personal attacks or people trying to use you to bring attention to their pathetic cause.

Make it obvious and thought provoking
A few of us are on the Internet most of the day, while others check in here and there. If you have a bunch of complaints headed in your direction, itís a smart move to let others know how you will react to it.