When Social Media Isn’t Social

When I was teaching my social media class last spring, there was one idea that I wanted to make sure got through to my students:

Social media is just another form of communication.  BUT – it is a tool of engagement, not broadcast.  It’s specifically designed to create interaction.  The days of individuals and brands just shouting out their message and hoping it sticks somewhere are gone.

So it always surprises me when I see people using social media in a way that isn’t even remotely social.  Sometimes it’s introverts, who seem to think they are engaging even when they aren’t.  Sometimes it’s individuals or companies, who completely misunderstand the 2-way vs. 1-way nature of this new tool.

Your blog is not your diary.
I’ve seen too many blog posts that are little more than diary entries.  They seek neither to enlighten, entertain or inspire.  They ask no questions, prompt no replies.  And don’t bother commenting, because you won’t get an answer.

No interaction.  Ever.
I’m still amazed when I go to someone’s Twitter page, figuring out if I want to follow them or not.  I’ll scroll through a whole page of tweets and never, ever see another user name mentioned.  No conversations, no RTs.  Just a constant stream of mental ramblings or endless self-promotion.  I never follow those people – they show no interest in interacting with anyone, so why should I bother?

Keep complaints to a minimum.
All right, so we’ve all complained on social media occasionally.  It just seems a natural thing to do.  But keep it to a minimum.  I’ve actually unfollowed people who complain too much.  There’s just no value whatsoever in it.  It makes you look like an unhappy, whiny person – and who wants to connect with someone like that?

Also, NEVER complain about social media on social media.  If you don’t like it, stop using it.   Or start using it the right way, then you won’t have to complain about it.

Social media is a great gift to the world.  Hyperbole? I don’t think so.  It opens up the entire world to you.  There is so much to learn and think about.  So many people to learn from and connect with.  Use it correctly and you won’t believe how powerful it is.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about social media?

Image credit: michaeldb / 123RF Stock Photo


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