Originally published on 9/26/17.
Do you get overwhelmed by social media notifications? Is the time you spend on your phone interfering with your day-to-day? This article addresses common practices in utilizing purposeful social media interactions to optimize your time and meaningful connections with people.
Why should you care? You chose not to be Facebook friends with your mother or employer. You can post anything you want, right? That’s true in a sense – your audiences dictate appropriate content. Keep in mind, though, 84% of future employers used social media for recruitment in 2016. Social media is for connecting with others. Keep your personal social networking healthy with the strategies listed below.
We’ve all heard that data algorithms track our clicks, posts, and online interactions to provide marketing companies with foolproof target ad information. We know that’s one way in which social media companies make a pretty penny, but just how much money are we talking? Billions. The global spending on social media advertisement has more than doubled since 2014.
It’s important to note:
SOCIAL MEDIA ISN’T FREE. YOU’RE PAYING WITH DATA.
Even though you don’t pay directly for your Twitter profile, all of the data you generate is stored somewhere. That’s one reason it’s important to only post purposeful social media content. It’s held forever and allows marketers to develop specific behavioral advertisement strategies for you. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options to combat this yet – but there is a start. The Google Chrome Browser allows users to personalize ad settings. Though it’s only one practice for personal privacy, check out these other tricks to privatize your internet activity.
Have you noticed how quickly an ad is placed in your newsfeed after, maybe, just mentioning the item to someone? Creepy . . .
Digital life needs to be balanced with real life – and yes, there’s a difference. We want to spend quality time with the people sitting in front of us, but the internet never sleeps! How can we regulate all the dings, bings, and rings when our focus should be elsewhere? How can we optimize spending only purposeful social media time instead of endlessly scrolling?
Consider being strict about notification settings on your phone. Do you really need to hear a ding every time someone likes your Facebook or Instagram post? Try setting all your social network accounts to only notify your phone when someone directly mentions or messages you.
But isn’t online engagement still important? Of course! Sometimes immediate responses can be beneficial, but it doesn’t have to be an all-the-time thing. Studies show there is an optimum number of posts on each network per week or day.
Try setting 2-3 specific times each day (maybe morning, afternoon, and evening) to “plug in.” Check all of your accounts, post content, and initiate engagement. With strict notification settings, the rest of your day should be held to only specific interactions. The real world becomes your oyster.
What would you do with all of that free time? How would you feel with truly purposeful social media time?
Let’s consider how we present ourselves to our peers, family, and professional connections on the web. Here are 3 tips for proper social network etiquette:
- Unless you’re clearly promoting him or her, ask permission before tagging someone in a photo or post. Please.
- Social media experts suggest splitting up posts between self-promotion and promotion of others. It’s positive to update your social circles with your achievements, promotions, and even personal milestones like buying a house. Remember, though, your readers quickly get bored with a self-centered story. Try to balance out your selfies by sharing others’ positive content you can appreciate.
- This is a big one. SELF-REGULATE POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS. Our country is currently polarized, thanks to targeted newsfeed (see above section on behavioral advertisement). Free speech and open discussion are obviously valuable, but is being aggressively opinionated counterproductive? In 2016, 59% of people said social media interactions with opposing political views were stressful and frustrating. How much of that is from simple rudeness? Everyone will differ in beliefs, but if common courtesy is extended throughout, everyone will have a more pleasant day.
Are there other etiquette rules you would consider important to mention?
Consistency with Flexibility
People recognize genuine personality. On social media, your persona is your lifeline to everyone else’s digital persona. We should strive to maintain honesty throughout all social media platforms, even if networks are differently curated. Let’s look at my social media accounts below. You’ll see that all of them display my career as a freelance writer, my hobby as a stand-up comedian, and my website. There are subtle differences, though. Can you spot them?
Facebook – My Facebook account connects me with friends and family, while still marketing for my professional work. I use it a lot for comedy involvement and promotion. Since both my grandmother and a potential client will follow me here, I do my best to be polite and clean-cut in my posts.
Instagram – This network does really well for art and life experience. I like to use this account for beautiful scenery, uplifting moments, or even dog photos. For certain posts, I allow my phone to also post it on Facebook, but not always.
Twitter – I have my most quirky persona on Twitter. It is so easy to tweet quick, snarky jokes that might not be appropriate for my Facebook audience. I follow other writers and industry leaders, and for the most part, don’t have to worry about sensitive family members. You’ll notice that this profile has a different, less professional profile picture. I need somewhere to be funny and let loose, and the balance is good for me.
LinkedIn – Pretty self-explanatory. The profile and content should stay business-oriented on this network. There’s no need to tell everyone about the quinoa salad you’re having for lunch.
Do you have different uses for different social media accounts?
Purposeful social media engagement starts with understanding. Social media profiles are not who we are, but they portray everything about us that we allow. Use the strategies above to manage a genuine web presence, and stay tuned for more articles about decluttering your digital world.
Feel free to leave comments or questions below!