Life Lessons from Social Media

Andy Social always used an alias
online so people took him seriously. 

Whether you love it or loathe it, social media is here to stay. Yes, it can suck the time out of your day like a chrono-vacuum; and yes, there are those who swear by it (opposed to at it) for promoting their wares and bringing home the bacon. However, there is another side to social media - it can teach us about life (by which I mean 'real life' away from the screen).

Here are my social media life lessons, distilled from literally minutes of contemplation.

1. You cannot please everyone. Get used to it. Once you adjust to the statistical probability of being on the receiving end of someone else's disapproval, life becomes a lot easier.

2. Everyone has an opinion and they'll happily use up oxygen to share it with you. You're not obliged to take it seriously and what you do with it afterwards is entirely up to you.

3. People only tell you what they want you to know. And it's a good policy to adopt.

4. You're not obliged to be friends with anyone just bceause they want you to. You're not in school any more, so don't allow yourself to be swayed by peer pressure.

5. Sometimes it's good to sit back and think before you act. Knee-jerk communications rarely come out well - count to thirty-seven.

6. Everyone is selling something - a product, a service, an idea or a worldview. That's what communication is - a desire to express something so that it is understood.

7. People who say, "I'm not like other people," generally are. "I'm so zany, pick me." thanks.

8. Other poeple's conversations can be addictive, but that doesn't make them beneficial to you. Dip in. Dip out. Jog on.

9. The friend of a friend is not necessarily going to make a good friend for you. Which is just some friendly advice.

10. Social media is just a tool. You don't have to play, but if you choose to do so then see it for what it is.

And my three cardinal Twitter sins, from the gospel of Derek?
1. Begging for retweets. It's like seeing a whiny Labrador craving more biscuits.
2. Auto-tweeting someone who's just followed you to visit their page or buy their book.
3. A follow from someone who has no interest in you (based on their tweet history), and who is blatantly just trying to build up numbers. (End of civilisation peeps, you know who you are.)


JO said...

Such common sense - much needed at times, in the mayhem of social media.

DT said...

Hi Jo, I'm thinking of starting a support group ;o)

Joe said...

All so true, especially the cardinal sins of Tweeting! Thanks for an entertaining post :-)

DT said...

Hi Joe, I tend to prefer Twitter so I feel the pain that little bit more!

Mrs Gold said...

Great advice. I would add a little aside to point 6 - don't make your social media contribution endless plugs for your work or product. Publishers have started to realise recently that this approach doesn't work and it's much better to present an interesting, communicative and "human" face that will encourage interaction. I have "unfollowed" people and companies who endlessly repost reviews and plugs for their own books. On he other hand I have tried out the work of people because I have found interesting online!

DT said...

A good point, Mrs G. I think Twitter is at its very best when it's a conversation.

Thrifty Gal said...

Good point about the direct message: I find it really annoying when someone I've had no communication with DMs me asking me to buy their book, or like their Facebook page. I also agree with Mrs G: I regularly unfollow people who just tweet plugs.

Kath said...

Love the not in school any more angle - must remember that! Well said tweety-pie.

DT said...

Hi there Thrifty Gal, yes I think different people have very different notions about what Twitter is for. That's people for you!

Hi Kath, speaking of school and that whole 'trying to keep on the right side of everyone and be accepted' vibe, if you head over to my solo blog and check out Beating the Odds, you can read the views of a freelance copywriter who shared a dialogue today. I'll be posted an update over the next few days. Social Media just got interesting (for me!).

Debs Riccio said...

"Dip in, Dip out, Jog on..." LOVE IT! (much better than the Keep Calm stuff). Well said our Derek :)

DT said...

I jog therefore I am!

Gillian McDade said...

I really hate the follows from random people who have no networking interest in you!