Back to beginning basics
With all the discussions going on about Twitter and owner/CEO Elon Musk, censorship, and fairness/equal application of said censorship rules, I decided to take several steps backward and create social media tips; basically, Social Media 101. What I hope to accomplish is creating a level playground of both awakened realization and self-accountability when it comes to our own actions on social media. This category is intended to be ongoing.
Social media is ongoing…
There’s a lot of chatter on social media about any topic you can think of. Some of the discussion is quite good: creating opportunities for questions, critical thinking, hypotheses, and, the ability to learn from others. These platforms serve as strong communication tools that can help expand our reach, knowledge, awareness, influence, and engagement.
…so mind what goes on.
Just because there are so many discussions does not mean we have to participate in all of them.
Some posts are just FYI – for our information only. Some are ventings, people letting off steam about things that bother them. Some are informational/educational. Some are click-bait – these posts are not only out for us to find and read, in many cases these posts are amplified, either by paid advertisement or algorithm. It could also be people behind-the-scenes amplifying one post over another “just because”.
We have to consider that some of the “moderation” is being done (or has been done) not by algorithm, but by a human being favoring one piece of content over another. Who put that person in that position? We may never know, but, how do we know our content will be given fair, just, and equal treatment?
If we can even slightly consider what you may be reading from the Twitter Files dump may be real, you should question whether these statements actually have merit.
Just because these files are now publicly available per the dump doesn’t mean we have to read them. There’s no requirement to believe or not believe the information they contain. There’s also no requirement that we must respond to every post.
To engage, or to not engage…
…that is indeed the question we must all ask ourselves. If we reply to posts we don’t like, who is socially listening? Who will respond? Will the person respond sarcastically, or come from a place of understanding? Worse, will the person respond through a lens of hatred?
How would you (or should you) react if one of your posts was flagged for moderation? Do you know all the rules of each platform? If not, do you know how to find them?
Before you start to type out that reply that’s burning from your fingertips:
- Pause. Take a moment. Do a bit of box-breathing. Will your reply make any difference to that post or situation?
- Walk away. If the post really pushed your button and made you angry, log out of the social media platform and walk away from your device for a while.
- Type and read. If you’re still angry about it, open a Notepad or another document file, type out your response, and STOP. Don’t copy/paste to the social media platform just yet. Do you feel better having typed it out? Do you really have to see if someone will respond, if you post it?
Social Media Tips 101
Here are a few tips to try instead of replying:
- Don’t do anything. If you don’t like the post, don’t Like, Comment, or Share it. No one in your network will see it unless (a) someone in your network is following the same person, or (b) someone else you both commonly know follows that person and does something with that post.
- Take responsibility. You decided to post the reply anyway, and the response back was ugly, if not outright mean-spirited. The person(s) responding may have called you names. While names won’t hurt anyone physically, the negative attention can damage your reputation. If you believe you hurt someone else with your reply, or someone may have misunderstood what you meant, you can try to clarify, but take responsibility for that post and apologize if needed.
- Mute the post. Is it worth your time and dollar to respond? Who’s going to read or respond back? Shake it off! Mute/hide the post and/or the poster. You may be asked if you want to mute similar posts – that’s up to you.
- Unfollow. If the post made you so angry you felt you HAD to respond, you should ask yourself, “Do I really want to keep following this person?” As Seth Godin has written about it, social media has allowed us to create our own tribes – people with whom we share similar ideas, concepts, thoughts, influences, etc. If you’re following someone that doesn’t share those values, it may be time to ask another question: “What value does this person have for me?”
If you have some tips to share, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You might see your tip(s) on our blog!
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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