How thinking from 1975 is useful for Social Media in 2011

Posted on November 16, 2011


In 1975 a man called Paul Grice published his Maxims of Conversation. In 2011 the world is talking more than ever before through Social Media and businesses are constantly advised that it is a conversation they must join.

Unfortunately, many in the media industry and commercial world have the impression that asking a question once or twice a day into the social mediasphere counts as ‘engaging’.

Before worrying about how to use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs and the rest, perhaps taking a step back to remind ourselves of how a good conversation works is a good first step.

Here are the Maxims as stated by

Maxims of Quantity:

  1. Make your contribution to the conversation as informative as necessary.
  2. Do not make your contribution to the conversation more informative than necessary.

Maxims of Quality:

  1. Do not say what you believe to be false.
  2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

Maxim of Relation:

  1. Be relevant.

Maxims of Manner:

  1. Avoid obscurity of expression.
  2. Avoid ambiguity.
  3. Be brief.
  4. Be orderly.

There are many who criticize these as being too simplistic, not covering every nuance of say, politeness which is accepted as an important part of daily conversation.

Neither is it explained whether these concepts apply to various cultures and languages.

That being said, the rules are still relevant enough to be applied to online social media communications, especially when considering ‘engaging’.

Would you stand in a room with someone constantly talking about themselves, asking questions but not hearing responses or trying to shove you into their shop?

I do not think so.

Social Media Blogs Worth A Read

I was prompted to write this post after reading two thought provoking posts on the issue of Social Media ROI‘s (Return on Investment) and How To Change From A Social Media User Into A Social Media Leader

Posted in: The Odd Box