Social has had its awkward moments. It arrived on the scene and we stumbled around not really knowing what it was about or how to use it effectively. But then it clicked, and the world embraced it. Now, we use the social platforms to communicate and connect, to advertise and market ourselves and our brands.
Navigating social media
For a while it was innocent. We’d share photos and post the occasional status update. Then brands started using social and along came the trolls. We learnt how to deal with them. Then some of our friends and family members began using Facebook to vent which would make us cringe. We generally ignored their rants and learnt to laugh them off.
But soon it became the thing you did to ‘express’ yourself. SO much sharing. Not just single ranting posts, but a few. And frequently. By everyone, even our mums. It became the norm.
No longer content with being innocent bystanders the crowd started joining in the comments. Banter and angry words flying across cyberspace. Negative, negative, negative. I solved that by leaving Facebook. It worked for a little while; it seems even Instagram users like to bag each other out.
Then it crossed the line. Into the professional circles. The sacred zones.
I’ve noticed numerous connections from across the digital industry, some I may have once thought of as leaders and held in high regard, start to abuse social media and use it to boost their ego. Thinking that they’ve got away with it because their profile states they’re an ‘expert’.
Calling people out, slagging brands, pointing fingers and making fun of others on social platforms is destructive. As professionals of the digital industry, we should be helping each other and helping the newbies get better.
To any of you that might be reading this, please know that acting like you’re the authority on all things digital is bull shit.
To those of you who make examples of people who are trying to navigate the digital landscape and learn what the hell to do on which social media platform; your comments are NOT helping!!!!
And then there are those of you that take delight in making fun of your colleagues in the industry. Standing over their shoulder, watching, waiting for them to slip up. Because you know everything, right? Do you think Stephen Hawking ignored the ideas and efforts of the people he worked with or his competition?
This post is also dedicated to those of you who make derogatory comments about every little thing and laugh with your social media frenemies about it until they do something ‘wrong’ and you do a Jekyll and Hyde on them. Good luck with growing your network, not to mention your client base. You’re ruining your reputation, who the hell is going to come to you for advice, or help?
Digital is still young. Social media even younger.
Not everyone is comfortable using digital. People make mistakes, this is how we learn.
The world is constantly learning and evolving. Nobody really knows how Google works, or how to beat the Facebook algorithms. the only way we’re going to get better at digital is by sharing what we know with one another. Instead of making childish remarks when someone stumbles, we should lend a hand; ‘There’s a better way to do that. How about you try doing it like this…if you’re not sure I can help you.’
You might actually gain a client if you get off your soapbox.
If you think you’re elite because you work in digital, you are wrong. You aren’t special, digital is our life now. There are teenagers with more experience in digital than you.
I’m no angel, I’ve posted negative things on social – usually at times of personal crisis. But, I’ve held myself back from abusing people and brands that have annoyed me. Recently I posted about something that got my goat on my business Instagram. After a couple of hours, I took it down, realising that I was just as bad as the people I’m calling out in this post.
I turned it around and decided to treat it as a challenge. Instead of being negative it would be much more helpful to try and solve the problem that these people are facing.
I am not about laughing in your face when you make a mistake, because I know that you can probably teach me a thing or two about your industry.
Knowledge is power but power is not knowledge.