I found myself the other day adding a kiss (xx) to a tweet to a company with whom I was trying to develop a professional relationship. Actually, it would be truer to say I was unable to stop myself from doing it. I’m sure many of us do this without thinking but when it comes to social media etiquette for business this unconscious outpouring of affection can do more harm than good!
We use them everywhere, don’t we? Those little xxx appear like chicken pox spots and once they start appearing, it’s very difficult to curb the rash.
It seems to be women who are the main culprits. Men don’t seem to feel the urge to express their undying love for someone who is about to sell them double-glazing or fix their tyres.
And why do we do it?
Types of social media kisses
I think there are 4 types of social media ‘kiss’
1. The “Look-At-Me” Kiss
2. The “Please-Like-Me” Kiss
3. The “I Have No Clue How To End This Message” Kiss
4. The Passive-Aggressive Kiss
The “Look At Me” Kiss
There are those who style themselves as the most popular people on the internet and have to adorn every message with a row of x-kisses – using an exciting blend of upper and lower caps just for effect.
These are the social media fans who will generally include more emoticons than words in their message so that if like me, most emoticons are a bit of a mystery (apart from the poo one), you really haven’t a clue how they are feeling.
Your general impression is that they are crying their eyes out next to a glass of wine and a poo whilst the weather in their area is quite sunny.
The “Please Like Me” Kiss
These people use x-kisses as subtext for ” I am really a very nice person and you should follow me / like me / share my post on Ancient Peruvian knitting techniques”.
X-kisses pepper their conversation in the oddest ways and are usually spotted in random Facebook status updates and tweets.
“I am now going to send my gas meter reading to the gas board. How about you? xxx”
These people also post lots of pictures of puppies and kittens.
The “I Have No Clue How To End This Message” Kiss
This one is particularly dangerous because if you are not paying attention it can appear in your professional emails.
“I feel I am eminently qualified for this position as I have designed a unique gadget to recycle solar energy in garden sheds” kiss xx
In fact, I suspect I sometimes type it automatically.
“Please can I reschedule my dental appointment on Tuesday because the kids have locked me in our spare room?” kiss xx
The thing is, it looks a bit, well, lame outside of the touchy-feeling, multi-photo-posting world of your family and friends on Facebook.
But “yours sincerely” and “yours faithfully” don’t seem to fit either.
The Passive-Aggressive Kiss
Ah, the one you really need to look out for. Do you ever find that, even though you could be seething at someone, you still have to add an ‘xx’ at the end of your message just in case?
Just in case of what is the question? Just in case you upset them? Just in case you are unjustified in being annoyed?
You can normally spot these passive-aggressive little kiss-bombs a mile off – for example
“I just thought I ought to let you know that you have used a semicolon incorrectly in line 5 of your blog post” xxxxx
“That looks a very nice lipstick shade but I think a neutral would make you look much younger” XxXxX
There’s little doubt that recruiters and employers are seeking employees with a good command of their native language – written, rather than texted.
The unfortunate leakage of “LOL” or the completely unhilarious “ROFL” and acronyms such as IUSWIM (if you see what I mean) or AIBU (am I being unreasonable) really don’t belong in professional correspondence either.
It looks even weirder if you are no longer a teenager.
And, even though we social media addicts feel compelled to “share the love” with our little keyboard kisses, there’s a time and a place.
You can’t imagine Ariana Huffington or Anna Wintour ending a message with kisses, can you?