When social media really got going with Facebook and Twitter (and eventually LinkedIn), everyone was excited about these new tools that allowed them to connect with and talk to anybody.
It was more than just messaging people, it was enabling conversation between anyone who was interested in joining in. But things have changed.
Today most people are less interested in getting into a conversation – they’re more interested in telling people about themselves and their lives. There’s much less in the way of conversation, more people ‘like’ posts or ‘retweet’ than actually respond. We’re becoming a broadcast world.
Typical posts include:
Sales pitches from business people
Some are more subtle than others ranging from promotion to outright ‘buy this now’ posts – and I admit to having bought from sponsored posts (with varied results from ‘Wow’ to ‘disappointing’)! There are advantages to this for the reader as it opens you to information and offers you may otherwise not have seen.
‘This is my life’
I’ve seen people who are in a bad place getting amazing support from their online friends, and some very funny images and comments from quirky individuals – but also some tedious posts that would be better not shared in a public forum. If you share the micro-detail of your life, consider whether it’s something you would want to read on someone else’s profile – especially someone you may not know very well.
It’s always good to let off steam and online forums are good places to find like-minded people. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks and rereads what they’ve written before hitting the ‘publish’ button. Some people forget that their boss/partner/children/parent/best friend may read their comments. While that may not be an issue, it could impact on your reputation and relationships if you haven’t held back – and those nearest and dearest (or that pay your salary) are in the firing line.
Sharing of other people’s posts
There are lots of thoughtful, funny, interesting posts that appear on various social media – these include everything from cat videos to amazing feats of artistry. The popular ones keep popping up again and again as everyone likes and shares. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with sharing something you think others will appreciate, but be selective. If you share 20 posts a day, some of your connections may get frustrated if their phone alert pings every few minutes with another non-urgent post.
Requests for help
This is one place social media really comes into its own. If you’re looking for information or advice, social media is an excellent forum to consult. You’ll get a wide range of responses, from really useful to somewhat flippant, but almost always there will be a few nuggets of gold in there.
If you do ask for help – remember to thank those who offer it and be willing to return the favour for others by making the effort to help a few people as part of your social media strategy.
I’m not suggesting that NOBODY has conversations on social media – but they are in the minority. So take a look at your social media activity – are you a broadcaster, a lurker or a conversationalist?