Calling Bullshit on Social Media

  1. There are tools. There are people who use the tools. And then there are people who are tools. Know the difference.
  2. Ass-kissing will get you anywhere, but where is that, exactly? Where do you actually want to go from there? Think long-term.
  3. Speaking of long-term, “asshole” is not a long-term strategy. Neither is “edgy” or “off-putting.” What do you really want to achieve? And for how long? Build a strategy on that.
  4. The vast majority of what happens in social media happens where you can’t see it. Don’t be fooled by what you think you see — it’s only a shadow of what’s really there. Pay attention to what, and who, is missing from the conversations.
  5. Also, remember that what you think is private isn’t guaranteed to be. As Hugh Prather once said, “Live as if everything you do will eventually be known.” (Because it likely will be, and soon.)
  6. For all the stories and panels and lovefests about how social media is, well, a lovefest, I suspect that just as many relationships (personal and professional) have been broken by social media as made. Would you be comfortable with that DM being public? If not, don’t write it. There are other forms of communication, you know (but only marginally more secure). And if you’re not comfortable with what you’re doing being made public? Yeah, don’t do it.
  7. Everyone is in this for themselves at some level. Some people do that by taking others down. Some people do it by building people up. Some people act like they’re building people up, when really, they’re just assigning you a debt you’re not aware of, and expect you to repay. Understand intent – yours and theirs.
  8. A lot of this is just a game. The rules aren’t very hard to learn. But there is more than one set of rules. Do you know which set you follow? Do you know which set they do?
  9. Your rules aren’t my rules. They’re different. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Back off. There are multiple lanes on this road.
  10. Saying one thing and doing another? Also not a long-term strategy. Much better to walk your talk. Easier, too.
  11. To quote a very good friend, “The Internet will not fix whatever happened in high school.” So move on. If there’s something about you, or about the way people interact with you, that you don’t like, change it. Complaint is tantamount to complacency. DO something.
  12. All those people who say it’s quick and fast? They’ve got a short-term focus. If that’s yours, too — great. If not, run the other way. If you want long-term results, pay attention to those who speak in the long-term. Being human takes time.
  13. And? Time reveals all, to those paying attention. So: pay attention.
  14. Expertise is self-evident, not self-appointed. Beware of hyperbolic descriptors – yours or otherwise. You don’t get to say, really, what you are. We do. Are you listening?
  15. Entitlement has no place here. The time people spend reading what you put out there? It’s a gift they’re giving you. What are you giving in return? Have you made it worth their while? The minute you start to feel you owe them more than they owe you? That’s probably when you’ve got the balance right.
  16. Call it what you will — reposting, featuring, scraping — plagiarizing is a dick move. Do you your own damn work. Write your own damn stuff. You’ll be more passionate about it anyway. (And won’t be exposing yourself as a charlatan.)
  17. Bandwagons get full quickly. Start your own.
  18. To quote another very good friend, “The plural of anecdote is not data.” Which is why case studies are pretty much useless. As are generalized prescriptions of what works. Following others’ maps guarantees you’ll be part of the herd. Stop taking direction. Set yours. Draw your own map, monsters be damned
  19. You can’t fake human. Nor can you humanize fake. Trust that what you are, and what you do, has value somewhere, to someone. Your job is to articulate that value, and find your audience. Yes, it’s hard. Get over it.
  20. If you haven’t done it? Please stop talking about it. You’re annoying those of us who have. Talk about what you know, not what you think you know.
  21. Happy feelings are not ROI. ROI means RETURN ON INVESTMENT. That’s it. Stop mucking it up to cover your unwillingness to actually measure things. Yes the types of return that are valuable change depending on what results you’re looking for. But if you’re not willing to be accountable, in this space or any other, get out of the game.
  22. Social media is not a new way to sell. There’s only the old way. You just have new tools. (And, um, please refer back to #1:) Use them wisely.
  23. Being human, and interacting like one, is hard. Automation makes some parts easier, but you still have to do the hard work. Accept it, plan for it, hire for it.
  24. Personal and professional cross here. As Amber says, if you can’t handle that, get offline. If you don’t have a choice, then find a way to make it work for you and whoever’s writing your checks (which, if you’re lucky [i.e., you do the hard work], is also you).
  25. Yes, there is a culture of complaint. But squeaky wheels squeak for a reason. Figure out why. They may not speak for everyone, but they speak for some, and potentially enough to bring you, or your brand, down. Find the cause, and fix it.
  26. The rules are not different for you. If you don’t like to be spoken to, sold to, marketed to, or interacted with in a certain way DON’T DO IT TO OTHER PEOPLE. I mean, seriously. Your doing it doesn’t make it better. Or acceptable. Don’t be a user. Be of use.
  27. Oh, and if you want success in this space? Accept what comes with it. Yes that means a loss of privacy. And yes that means people will ask ridiculous things of you. Yes that means people will try to use you. Why is that a surprise? People are people. Social media just added microphones. And cameras. And speakers. Human behavior remains unchanged.
  28. You choose what you put out there. Don’t be surprised that people know it.
  29. Cliques exist. You’re in one (or many) whether you admit it or not. See them. Move between them. Use them for good. But please don’t pretend they’re not there. Disingenuous isn’t sexy. Also: not a long-term strategy, either.
  30. And what’s with all the judging? Are you truly so free of fault? I know I’m not. Remind me to list sometime all the reasons I’m a bitch / hypoctrical /a lame-ass, whatever. My list of why I suck will always be longer than yours. I’ll worry the day it isn’t.
  31. Authenticity is a state. Integrity is a mindset. Please learn the difference. You can only be what you are — even assholes are authentically so. You can only have integrity if you own whatever you are… and own up to it.
  32. Takedowns for takedowns’ sake aren’t helpful. Neither is blind worship. You have a brain, use it. If you disagree, say so, and back it up. Question everything, but move the conversation forward.

You? What do you see? And how do we fix it?

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