Social media is ubiquitous. In 2015 Digitaltrends reported that Americans check social media a staggering 17 times a day, or at least once every waking hour. I want to talk about three things that are often done that annoy the daylights out of those of us checking our accounts. (Disclaimer: to my friends and followers who might wonder, “Is he talking about ME?” The short answer is “no,” these are not directed at anyone in particular.):
- Bragging. Whether about your kids, your possessions or your success. There is a way to talk about all three without becoming boastful. For instance, inform people about what your kids are up to, but refrain from continually reminding people how smart/exceptional/sweet/good looking they are. Your friends will be happy for you and your children’s success if you don’t rub their noses in it. The same is true for possessions. If you want to share a purchase that makes you happy, do so. But don’t create an ongoing narrative. That takes you from informative to off-putting.
- Snarkiness. There is a way to express your opinion and disagree without name calling, insinuation and dispersion. I accept opposing points of view on my posts if stated with civility. But when you start being mean-spirited, you get booted. Snakiness might be fun to indulge in but it is a sign of immaturity and lack of real insight.
- Overload. Of anything. Photos. Quotes. Etc. When you post too much nobody who looks at your posts knows what is really important. Posting too much dilutes the good things you share. And unless your appearance changed within the last hour, another selfies is probably pointless. (If the Myth of Narcissus were updated, you’d find him staring not into a reflecting pool, but a smart phone camera and social media page.)
But wait, you say, I do some of those things and get “likes” galore! Sure. We all do: from our best friends and family members (who cut us lots of slack) or synchophants who would click “like” on a picture of your recent colonoscopy.
We are, collectively, overwhelmed by the amount of information and content we see. Providing value is the ultimate challenge on social media. If you want to add to the social stream, inform and even inspire, you can do it without bragging, being snarky or overloading your readers.
Read 9 Strategies for Dealing with the Ugly Side of Social Media to find some key social media strategies.