When you travel around the world, you learn to understand how difficult the math of human interactions is. Personal space in Europe is different than in Dubai. Or India. What we consider staring in the Western culture is normal in other cultures.

Social norms were developed over thousands of years. The Social Web had barely a decade.

We encounter people that make us feel uncomfortable, annoy us, get us all riled up. Brands that use the Social Web as another push channel, develop sites that drive us nuts, spam us and don’t get how you should act on the Social Web.

Are there any rules? Sure there are. The rules were made by all of us. We created our own social norms on the Social Web. When I post an Instagram of my breakfast, it’s okay for me if you do the same. If I find over-sharing annoying, any over-sharing in my community will set me off. We interact and engage with people who have comparable social norms than we have.

That’s why we feel so uncomfortable at certain parties while everybody else has a great time. Or at a new job because we don’t understand the internal, social norms yet.

People congregate, they develop weak ties than become a community. That’s when norms become important and are formed. We like people who are like us. We don’t really care about diversity. We live in a global world, the United States is a diverse nation when considered as whole. But your block is a relatively homogeneous community.

As a marketer, when you have problems attracting the right people online, evaluate if you’re acting the way they do. You need to understand their social norms and act accordingly. That’s the difference between being an annoyance or a welcome addition to the community.