The thing that scares the bejeezus out of me is a person posting on social media who is not nice or intends to cause some form of harm to others. The intent of social media is to connect individuals and groups. It is not a place to bash or virtually segregate others because they are not physically present. As both personal and professional social media users we have the ultimate duty to spread good will and positivity across the platforms that we use. Do not be a monster!
My social media motto: If you can’t say something nice, think twice before posting/liking/commenting. Don’t intentionally hurt people’s feelings. Think about how you would feel if someone behaved in the manner that you plan to behave.
Examples of scary behaviors according to monster personalities on social media:
- Foolish Frankenstein. This monster believes, “I’m right, you are wrong.” His or her social media view point is always the most accurate. If your thoughts happen to be different than this individual, looooook out. There is no way to win. Save your finger strokes or key strokes for another conversation.
- Howling Werewolf. This wolf publicly calls out people or things that they are against and does so with such howling negativity that it makes your hair stand on end. The beast is great at the blame/shame game.
- Friendly Ghost. This ghoul is in your face, passive aggressive. You are no longer “friends” but the person repeatedly likes posts you author or pictures in which you appear with others despite the social media relationship disconnect.
These monstrous behaviors can be doubly damaging for people who have a company presence and a personal presence to maintain. Forgetting that social media is public is no excuse! People can easily connect you to your business and will make purchase decisions based on your actions.
Boo! Look at intent and impact of social media messaging.
I’m not advocating against finding your voice on social media platforms. In fact, my argument is that we should feel comfortable to find that voice and use it for good. What type of response do you intend to get from your audience? Does it impact anyone negatively? Is it possible that what you post will introduce more questions about the reasons why you are saying what you are saying?
Read this book
For those of us who want to stay true to ourselves and do the right things for others (including our companies) I recommend reading Brene Brown’s, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. http://brenebrown.com/ It is frightening to speak up with all of the trauma we face in the world on a daily basis. Brown’s perspective on society and what makes us unique individuals serves as a great reminder about how we can effectively come together in times of pain and happiness. While it’s not aimed specifically at marketers or social media professionals, the content of the book applies to how we approach conversation on a personal and professional level.
Author: Melissa Goodson
Melissa Goodson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business and Technology at The College of St. Scholastica, St. Paul campus where she teaches and develops courses for the MBA in Leadership & Change program. For over 12 years, she has worked in leadership roles in marketing communications, product management and strategic planning for media companies. She serves as a board member and Marketing & Communications Director for the Minnesota Organization Development Organization. Her professional interests include brand management, leadership development and organizational culture.