“We don't have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is, how well do we do it?” - Erik Qualman
A recent Reddit thread asks:
Q: “What are common signs of not having one's shit together?”
Top Answer: “When you see their shit plastered on social media.”
Like it or not, social media is a projection of who you are, at the core, for many, many acquaintances. Not to get too businessy, but it is your personal brand. That’s kind of a cold notion for those of us just “having fun,” but it’s important to realize that Facebook and Instagram are not just online journals or conversations among friends.
Not only are many of your online friends not real “friends,” but the streams and threads are public archives, accessible to almost everyone, especially when privacy settings change, get breached or are simply too nuanced to constantly manage. For many people, it’s a real possibility to fail a job interview because of something posted online two years ago.
Here are some common issues to consider as you frolic in the land of social media:
We all wear social masks. You are not the same person at lunch with your boss as you are at lunch with your BFF. Consider the mask you are wearing when you type an update in the status box. Often social media recipients are a mix of family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances, so don’t lull yourself into that false sense of privacy that screens often inspire.
There's a HUGE difference between giving people updates on your life and showcasing your life on social media. Updates: My kid was cute in this play. I got a job and I’m happy. Studying for finals sucks. Showcase: I can’t believe this is happening again! Why does nothing ever go right for me? (Frowny Face)
- Try not to assume people represent all of who they are on social media. Example: Your co-worker might only be on Facebook so Grandma in Kansas can see kid pics. If you find her constant kid posts annoying, it’s okay not to like them, but try not to assume she only lives for her children.
- Your mother aside, people don’t care all that much about your posts. You’re one in a stream of distractions. So try not to get too wrapped up in likes and comments. As Eleanor Roosevelt wisely said, “You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
- Facebook has algorithms. Not all your friends see all your posts. So don’t freak out when you don’t get enough likes. It doesn’t mean people don’t like you.
- Everyone tries to look beautiful on social media. And everyone is aware of this.
- Not everything is social media worthy.
- You don’t own photos of other people. Be discreet.
- You don’t own your children’s online identity. Consider that when posting pics on them on the toilet, which will exist online forever.
- Cryptic updates are annoying.
- Updates on emotional relationship blow by blows are all out of context in social media. It’s probable you look like a bipolar spaz (see projection).
So, go forth and have fun out there, but try and keep your shit together, so people don’t have to hide you from their feed.
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