When people think of social media like Facebook, Google+, or Twitter they often turn to thoughts of the cliche update about what someone had for lunch. Fortunately, most of the people I associate with in real life don't write such updates. If they do I unfollow, unsubscribe, etc. Such updates waste the time of everyone who accidentally stumbles upon them. When participating in social media, engaging participants take on responsibility to contribute meaningfully to the conversation. The next time you update your status or Tweet, keep this advice in mind.
- Forget to tell readers what you want them to do as a result of reading what you wrote.
- Be boring. If you can’t imagine someone really finding what you have to say interesting and valuable, keep it to yourself.
- Share a link with no additional information.
- Forget to tag others who could add value to the conversation.
- Contribute to a hashtag, group, page or conversation unless you know their purpose and goals.
- Share your wares without explicitly explaining why this would be of value to others.
- Forget to include a link to what you are writing about if one exists.
- Write something that is not worthy of a response.
- Be afraid to be wrong. You’ll learn a lot if you are.
- Forget to show your appreciation for others by commenting on and sharing what they are saying.
- Attract attention by being yourself. Know your brand.
- Know your purpose. What do you want people to know, do, respond to? Include that in your update.
- Ask a provocative question or make a statement that you know might be challenged in meaningful ways.
- Embrace the ideas that social media makes us more real and transparent. As a result the lines between personal life and professional life are blurring. This makes us who we are. Own it. Share it.
- Be the most of something people can come to expect. For example perhaps you are the most likeable, helpful, in the know, controversial.
- Admit your weaknesses and insecurities and write an update that others might relate to. You’ll both feel better.
- Share why you’re unsure about something. You’ll learn more about yourself and others when you do.
- Make sure everything you write is interesting, funny, witty, or challenges the status quo.
- Tell others what you are hoping will be gained / learned from an update you share.
- Know your audience. Develop relationships, just as you would in real life.
Following these Do’s and Don’ts will help make you someone worth listening to. It will also help to make social media are more interesting and valuable place for us all.