I recently read an article on Huffington Post on how to be annoying on Facebook.
“Ran only 5 km in 30 minutes. Gosh, that’s bad.”
“What a party! Jillian is the turtle, haha, so awesome!”
“In school studying, then gym, dinner and off to bed.”
Let’s be honest, most of us used to, or still are, that annoying person – the false modesty, the internal jokes, or irrelevant day-to-day updates. As soon as something even remotely worth sharing happened I would arrange it in my mind into the funniest, most clever status update. I would play with words until the wittiest version of my report of a smashed egg or latest party would take shape and post it onto Facebook. And today I sometimes still catch myself doing it. Unconsciously, it’s like a yet incurable modern day idiosyncrasy.
However, lately I’ve been noticing a major decline in this sort of behaviour. I started asking myself what caused this change. Are the exhortations really making their mark on the society? Are we becoming more ‘social media mature’?
The Facebook excitement climax is now behind us and naturally what comes next is the criticism. Internet is blossoming with articles on what actions to avoid on social media. It is almost as if the new hip way to ‘be cool’ is to not show it online. The social media modesty is now in: the new way to be trendy.
I used to consider having over 1,000 friends on Facebook as one of my secret confidence boosts. I didn’t understand why certain people would ‘unfriend’ somebody. Nowadays as soon as I notice a person that I no longer have interest in or feel unconnected to I press the ‘unfriend’ button without hesitation. Consider that the XXI century adulthood points. Hence, I might be under the impression that the world is changing when in fact only my news feed has undergone a facelift.
We are now slowly becoming aware of the power of Internet. Once it’s out there, it’s most likely out there for good. Our image is not only perceived through what we put out there in person, but also through our social media alter ego: the pictures, information and choice of words. It is still crucial to be visible online, they key is however, to be smart online.
Telling your boss you are sick and then checking-in on Facebook at an amusement park with your friends an hour later puts quite a shadow over your professionalism and commitment. Posting a picture of a baby scan online before telling your parents or closest friends in person really makes one question loyalty. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. A bad picture online can often be worth a thousand bad words and a reputation. The examples are infinite. You might not necessarily need to erase all your party pictures from your teen days, everyone was young once, but the awareness of what is out on the Internet is nowadays crucial.
Especially, since the content we put on social media has not only the potential to damage us, but to first and foremost build us up. Professional management of social media accounts adds to our social currency and personal brand value. It is time consuming and not everyone has time to do it, however it’s still a free and extremely powerful tool in marketing and if used wisely, can bring profit, progress and success.
We need to take the maturity we’ve learned and experienced in real life and apply it on our ‘social media selves’. Get some perspective and think twice. Instead of updating the world on the status of your keys being lost for the millionth time say STOP. Backspace and think again. Here’s an article on how to improve your memory, so you won’t lose your keys again. Share. Plus five maturity points. You managed to avoid any swearing, even though the keys are still missing? Another five points. Does your content create curiosity, interest and interaction? 10 points! And look at that, on top of everything you have found an angle to connect the content you are sharing to your brand or product. Congratulations, you’ve just hit the jackpot in the social media maturity game.