At the risk of alienating some of our audience with an overly vitriolic title, we’d like to point out three things that have changed for the worse with social media in the hopes that we’ll all be more aware of them and thus be the change we want to see.
1. Trolls. Just because you’ve never met the person you’re commenting about does not mean they are any less human. Comments left on social media sites hurt just as much as those spoken face-to-face. If you wouldn’t call someone out in person in the sort of colorful language that makes sailors blush, why would you do it on a blog or on Twitter?
2. Over-use of words like “#Fail.” If a company disappointed you or did something you don’t agree with, that is not necessarily a failure. It’s what happens after the letdown that becomes the opportunity for failure or “winning.” We all experience customer service inadequacies but try to retain a little perspective. If Wendy’s forgot the pickle on your sandwich, is tweeting about an “epic #fail” really the best way to handle it? Last time I checked, pickles can not materialize from a Twitter stream. Try going up to the counter and asking for one. Sure it’s an extra step out of your already busy day but a lot more useful than dumping your pickle disaster on a congested tweet stream. Step back and realize you’re not the only one who didn’t get a “pickle” today.
3. Egos. — Yikes, now we’re stoking the flames! — Social media has become this amazing forum for knowledge exchange, collaboration and conversation. The easy access and broad stages of social media channels have created a group of people who seem easily impressed by their own accomplishments and things people write about them. Before posting to any network, ask yourself if you would say the same in casual conversation with a stranger. If your answer is “Of course not! She would think I was bragging,” then consider allowing others to say it for you instead.
On the other side, there are so many things I’m thankful for in social media – our customers, the learning opportunities, people I’ve met (and some I haven’t yet), constructive criticism/critiques/reviews, the book suggestions I’ve received (and subsequently books read), re-connections I’ve made with people I’ve lost track of, pictures shared from family and friends I regrettably don’t see every day, recipes collected, parenting advice I’ve read in the hopes of wrangling my nutty twins, events I’ve been able to attend virtually, music I’ve discovered…the list seems endless. The more I think about it, the more beneficial things in my life I can attribute to social media.
The power behind social media and the changes it’s made in our lives are so vast. Social media can shape consumer purchasing, R&D, even collaboration on projects featuring the greatest minds in the industry (regardless of their geographic location). So as snarky as some of you may feel this blog post is, it had to be written this way. There are too many things to be thankful for and only a handful of concerns. The potential behind social media is so all encompassing, I would hate to see this type of collaboration fall short because we forget that our virtual audience is human and thus deserves to be treated that way.
What social media are you thankful for (or not)?